Making the most of working from home

The concept of the “anywhere office” fits into the growing trend of the flexible workforce and the idea of work being a thing you do, not a place you go to. But with everyday distractions and the coffee machine only a stones throw away here’s my top tips.

Reclaim your commuting time
Commuting is a pain. I’ve had to sit through plenty of journeys next to someone dozing off to sleep whilst I try to elbow them in the ribs, or sitting in a traffic jam that never seems to end, so for me one of the biggest perks of working from home is taking back that time! However, if you are not going to spend that time travelling make sure you are doing something with it, and I don’t mean hitting snooze on the alarm. Dedicate the first half an hour to checking your emails from the night before or addressing the to do list to see what you want or need to achieve during the day.

Design your space
You’ve heard this one before, but it’s crucial. Carve out a dedicated space that you only use for work. Preferably, you need natural light and a door, so that you can separate your work from your home life when the workday is done. (Moreover, creating a separate and exclusive space can be necessary if you want to take a tax deduction for a home office.)

Project professionalism
Some people advise dressing as if you were still working in someone else’s office. I don’t agree with this, I’m not going to put office wear on just to sit in the office all day, personally I think thats nuts! However, if you are planning on doing video calls then think about where your taking the call and whether you’ve managed to run a comb through your hair that day. The great thing again about having a home office is that it provides a dedicated space and in theory is going to be clutter free.

Expand your circle
Working at home can be a lonely job, especially if your not in an urban area. Make sure you keep in touch and catch up with existing contacts, there are also plenty of tools in todays era of social media to be expanding your network from home so stay proactive.

Manage your distractions
Talk about easier said than done, but another danger in working from home is that it’s so easy not to work. There are so many distractions whether it be friend, neighbour, coffee machine, washing or televised sporting event. One winning strategy is simply to accept that you’ll never be 100 percent productive. That makes it easier to be in control of your “mind-wandering” time at work, and keep it under control. Alternatively make sure you take a break, just because you work at home it does not mean you need to spend 10 solid hours (or more) at your desk.

Own your day
If you find yourself working earlier, take time for yourself and your family later. Organise your to do list and time to take account of meetings or conference calls. I say it again, just because your at home it doesn’t mean you now work from 6am to 9pm. Make use of the fact you can zip to the shops when its not busy or run and pick the kids up from school.