Second only to a salary increase, working from home is one of the top perks that office workers look for in a new job. Sadly only 6% of jobs advertise this benefit. But if you’re one of the lucky few who can kiss goodbye to the commute, how do you cope with this new found freedom? Here’s my top 5 tips to getting the most from working from home.
Get up at your normal time
While it may be tempting to loll around in bed for an extra hour in smug contemplation of your fellow commuters here’s why you’re missing out if you do. Getting up at your normal time gives you an extra hour to make a head start on the day and at no expense to your normal sleep pattern. The early morning is when we’re at our most alert and able to crack on with work without distracting emails and phone calls. Powering through that first hour of the day guarantees a long, leisurely evening stretching out ahead of you.
Lock the fridge
With a whole fridge full of food close at hand, the desire to incessantly graze all day is all too tempting. To avoid rolling into the office the next day, stick to normal eating hours and if you do have to snack, limit it to celery and carrot sticks only – the novelty of which will wear off very quickly. Make sure that the more tempting snacks are safely tucked away out of sight and only come out once the day’s work is done.
Ditch the lunch break guilt
Having gained the precarious trust of your employer, the concept of taking a lunch break can be massively guilt-inducing. The fear of a phone call or an urgent email popping up just when you’ve nipped out to the shops can be paralysing. However, the benefits of leaving your desk even for fifteen minutes far outweighs the struggle of providing incessant face time. If you have a demanding boss, email them in advance to say you are taking twenty minutes and let them know when you’ll be back at your desk.
While we relish the freedom of working from home, few of us consider the creeping feeling of loneliness that make the living walls slowly close in. As debated in my article on the pros and cons of freelancing, whether we love them or hate them, our colleagues provide vital social contact during the day. There’s nothing like a “cake” email popping up in your inbox to make you feel abandoned at home all alone. To combat loneliness, arrange a regular phone catch up with colleagues to help you stay connected. Every 90 minutes or so, move away from your desk and have a quick 5 minute walk outside. Arrange a catch up with friends for that evening and ensure that you get your social fix outside work time.
Prioritise your tasks
Working from home is a golden opportunity to get the most stressful tasks done in a peaceful environment devoid of distractions. In a recent report, 30% of office workers reported being more productive at home than in the office. This is particularly the case for meaty tasks such as report writing which requires periods of intense concentration. Always prioritise these tasks when you work from home and leave the emails and phone calls for when you’re back in the office.
How do you manage working from home? Share your tips and advice in the comments section below.