As technology and flexible working policies have improved over the years, more and more employers are allowing their employees to work from home. A study by Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom et al on working from home even suggests that it can make employees more productive and happier.
However, if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, working from home can be a necessity rather than a choice. Here are my top tips for working from home on a daily basis.
1 – Establish a routine
Many people use their phones as their alarm clocks and this makes it really easy to check your phone not only before you go to sleep but before you’ve even made it out of bed the next morning. By doing this you don’t let your brain switch off before you sleep, or wake up and prepare itself for the day. I realised I was doing this a lot and made a conscious decision to invest in an old fashioned alarm clock. My phone does not make it in to the bedroom and I love it – no light, buzzing, noise and no temptation to pick it up first thing in the morning.
It’s also really important to take regular breaks and remember to have breakfast and lunch. When you work for yourself from home, it’s too easy to get caught up with a task and not look up from your desk. I often joke I get ‘hangry’ – I don’t realise it until it’s too late but if I don’t eat breakfast or lunch I can get really irritable and lose all concentration.
2 – Get dressed!
You may chuckle as you read this, but if you work in your pyjamas you never really differentiate between your working and relaxing time in your day. You don’t have to get suited and booted, but perhaps consider, if a client or customer were to Skype you right now, would you be happy to take the call?
3 – Create a dedicated space
Much like one and two, this is about mentally separating work and home. If you’re not able to set aside a dedicated room, create a small space away from where you relax or sleep. Try to make sure home ‘things’ don’t make it in to this space and when you’re done for the day – step away from it. If you’d like some more tips on how to make your home desk tidy, take a look at our recent blog.
4 – Socialise
Being a sole-trader or small business owner can be a lonely place if you work from home. No office banter, chats by the water cooler or chance to exchange views on the latest news or top television programme. Get out networking – not only will it promote your business, but you can have some face to face contact with people and build relationships.
5 – Tidy up at the end of the day –
When you’re working day is over, whatever time that is, clear your desk for the day. This doesn’t mean putting everything away and having a clear desk (unless you like to do that!) but put what you’re working on to one side, write down your priority tasks for the day and then step away. Your business is important, but so are you – and your business won’t be there without you. So finish your day, step back and relax.