Here are a few tips for those of you who work from home. You may have just set up your own business from home, or you are fortunate enough to work for a company that allows you to spend some of your working week at home.
(summarised with permission from the workfromhome.co.uk website)
1. Buy yourself an additional battery for your laptop. Keep one battery at home and one battery at work. That way you don’t do any lugging back and forth.
2. Ensure that colleagues, suppliers and customers have multiple ways to contact you. Five that spring to mind are landline, mobile, Skype, email, Instant Messaging. Update all your contacts with this information.
3. One of the things I like most about home working is flexibility. But you do need to be organised and structure your day efficiently. This way you can get to go to the gym and see the kids perform in the school play. Working and playing to a schedule will give you higher energy levels.
4. Make sure you are comfortable! Get a really good chair. Think about plugging your a laptop into a proper screen and using a full size keyboard.
5. Hey family, hey friends – please don’t disturb me when I am busy working! Often they just don’t get the whole working from home thing – you need to set them right. Otherwise, boy oh boy you will be pestered silly. There is still a real distinction between ‘home-life’ and ‘work-life’. Make sure you and everyone around you knows where the line is. Close your home-office door to others when you are working, and lock it when out.
6. Take regular breaks. Loads of quiet time to concentrate on work is all well and good, but your mind, body and eyes need regular rest. Go for a walk, make a telephone call downstairs or have a cup of tea. Most important if you are working in front of a computer screen.
7. Always plan a time for lunch and if you can, eat it away from the office. Have a pre-determined time scheduled to end your ‘day at the office’. Don’t let your working day drag on through into the night.
8. Remember to have a social life. Social life revolves around work for many people. However, at home, you won’t have real live colleagues to talk to eyeball-to-eyeball. People need social interaction, so make sure you can get enough socialising out of your work hours. Pubs, hobbies, clubs, sports – whatever works for you. And make sure it involves getting out of the house – don’t just slump in front of the box.
9. Have more than one method to access data at home. I am on a secure VPN, so I can access my office PC from work. However, if the office network goes down, we have an off-site back-up facility that is actually based in the States. Sometimes when I am working on a project I also encrypt the files and transfer to a mini USB hard drive that I have on my key ring. Talking about security, you have a got a regular back-up solution and procedure in place at home haven’t you?
10. Lastly, don’t feel guilty about working from home, just chill!! You probably actually work harder at home.