The most difficult aspect of telecommuting is the mental one. While getting set-up and started can be a hassle from a basic tech standpoint, when looking at the problems surrounding working at home, how we adjust mentally tops the list. Why is that? Simply put, everything has changed.
- New Environment – While most people are comfortable in their home environment, that does not make it conducive to working. Often our homes are sanctuaries for when we are done with work. It can be difficult to work as you adjust to being at home day after day when you are used to being out of the house. Many people think the idea sounds great, but once they have done it a few weeks, it can become mentally challenging.
- Less Structure – A morning routine? What’s that? When you work at home you can literally roll out of bed and be at work. This can be a blessing and a curse. The lack of structure can make it hard for some to work as diligently. It can also lead to working too much because the ability to work is immediately available.
- More Distractions – Kids, spouses, chores, stress, that new X-Box game, and so many more things are at home to distract you.
Some of the most important tips that we will share are related to the mental aspect of working from home. This is important to understand as you consider how to implement various ideas. Being able to stay mentally fresh does take effort and planning but it is critical when you combine your workspace with your leisure space.
Top Tips for Working from Home
- Create a Private Work Area – Privacy is an absolute must to work effectively from home. Avoid setting up an office on centralized locations like a kitchen table or living room couch. An extra bedroom is ideal. Using a garage can be an excellent short-term solution if the parking space isn’t a necessity. You should have a door, good lighting, a stable workspace such as a table or desk, and proper electrical outlets, internet, and phone connections. A dedicated workspace is not associated with your leisure time and helps put you in the work mindset.
- Use Dedicated Internet – If you don’t have a dedicated internet line at your house, get one. Consider upgrading either your speed package or router if you need faster performance or more bandwidth. For people using laptops, use a hardwire connection to your router. While wireless is great, in some cases it can cause issues with some software platforms. A dedicated line will be faster and more secure.
- Review your Job Tools – By job tools we mean anything essential to your daily activities. Do you have all of the same software downloaded to the device you are using for work? Do you need to print documents? Sign documents? Have video conferences? Do you need a headset for phone calls while typing? Do you need new apps like DropBox for file-sharing or Slack for communication or Rescue Time to keep you focused? Run through your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to make sure you have everything to function and also be aware of what needs to be taken care of. In some cases, modified processes will need to be created for some functions.
- Follow a Regular Schedule – This rule applies to both the people that have difficulty self-motivating and the workaholics. It is critical to establish a regular schedule. If you need to be at your computer working at 8:30 then everyone in the household needs to understand and respect that. Additionally, it is important to respect yourself and your personal time. When it is the end of the day, stop working. If there is unfinished work, come back to it later after dinner. It is important to get up, move around, and stop staring at the screen simply for your mental state.
- Start Early – You can accomplish a lot when you start early when your mind is the freshest. Many of us who work from home start the coffee brewing and dive right into the day. Try to knock out the toughest task before breakfast, which then becomes a well-deserved reward! When you start slow, motivation can lag which can be a problem within the comforts of home surrounding you.
- Take Regular Breaks – This is something people have a hard enough time doing at work, but at home, it is a must. This is a key aspect of your mental state. It can become easy to resent your home space if your workspace overruns it. One way to prevent that is by taking your required breaks and lunches. Play with your kids for twenty minutes. Have lunch outside with a book. Take a short walk in the afternoon. Don’t do chores. Do things that help you mentally separate
- Stay Connected – Working from home can be isolating, especially for people who live alone. Many people get used to those daily interactions with fellow employees. Instant messaging apps and video calls are both great ways to stay connected. If you have a family at home, make sure to interact with them as well.
- Enjoy the Perks – There are numerous perks to working from home that should be enjoyed without shame or remorse. Access to your entire music library without concern of your coworkers hearing you sing, having a second cup of coffee because you always stock the best coffee at home, and actually having time for breakfast are my favorites. This also helps greatly with your mental state.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that while from a technological standpoint working from home has never been easier, it can still be a difficult adjustment. In our experience, a good mental mindset plays the most important part in determining how much you can accomplish. Our top tips for working from home can help with the transition, leading to a more successful and enjoyable experience.
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