Working from home is a blessing and a challenge. You may be thrilled about the “freedom” of setting your own hours, rolling out of bed just before 9 a.m. or working in your pajamas, but any work-from-home veteran will tell you it requires discipline — a lot of it. Believe it or not, the key to success is emulating an in-office workday.
Establish a home office
It’s now your responsibility to ensure you are as productive as possible. While your home may offer refuge from overheard phone calls and chatty colleagues, it comes with its own set of distractions. And, unlike a traditional office, there won’t be a boss looking over your shoulder and making sure you’re not on YouTube.
Working from home shouldn’t mean curling up on the couch with a laptop. Set up a home office in a place that offers the least distraction, whether it’s in a spare room or the corner of your kitchen. Then organize your desk as you would in an office, equipped with a computer, work phone, organizers, a lamp or even a plant.
Set some firm office hours
When you aren’t going into the office, it can be easy for life to begin to blend with work. For example: First you’re responding to email, then you’re distracted by the ding from the washing machine. The next thing you know you’re up late at night finishing tasks you should have completed during the day.
Draw a line between work and your responsibilities at home. The best way to achieve this is by setting office hours. Whether you’re sticking to a nine-to-five or eleven-to-seven schedule, share your work hours with your boss and, if you have a family at home with you during the day, ensure they recognize and respect your work hours.
Resist the urge to dress down
One of the perks that comes with working from home is that you won’t have to worry about which shoes best match your outfit or forgetting to wash your trousers the night before. Unless you have a video conference scheduled, you have the freedom to wear whatever you want. Still, wearing your favourite sweatpants may not be a good idea.
Dressing up can help you mentally transition from a homebody to an employee. While your colleagues won’t be around to evaluate your wardrobe choices, you should do your best to look the part of a productive and gainfully employed individual — which you are — even if it means dressing up for your three-year-old or pet goldfish.