Working from home has many benefits. Personally, when I learned that I can leave the corporate jungle and still earn, the idea appealed to me so much that I found out everything I could about it. After I kissed the “traditional” office setting goodbye and started working from the comfort of my home, I never looked back. I am happy with that decision. Since you are in a place where you are most comfortable in though, the work from home setting could also be disadvantageous. What are the do’s and don’ts of working from home? To be successful and effective, here’s what I’ve learned.
Do’s and Don’ts of Working from Home
Create your own work-space
Find a place that is well-illuminated and well-ventilated. This space should be away from the noise and distractions. Find an area in your house that is away from temptations. Temptations could be the TV, the bed that is inviting you to procrastinate for a few minutes (that can turn into hours if you’re not careful), or even talking to family members that could delay you from delivering your work.
Your work-space should be conducive to working. It should be a place that makes working feel like an official business so you can get into that condition every time you are in it. So you can take your work seriously even when you’re still in your pajamas.
Find an area or a room that is comfortable enough to allow ideas to flow, but not too comfortable to that it’s conducive to sleeping and makes you too relaxed to get things done.
Just because you are at home, people you live with will think you are not really “officially” working. Let them know that at certain hours, you should not be disturbed. Let them know if you are having a call with a client at a specific time or if you need them to be quiet around your home office.
Do set rules for yourself too and be faithful enough to follow and respect them.
It is best to start working early if you have many things to finish. Just because you’ve been given or assigned a flexible schedule doesn’t mean you procrastinate until you have little time left. Start early during the day so you can also finish early. When you start early, you have more time to work on other things and have enough time for yourself.
Working from home may not be easy at first. Help yourself cope with work by being organized. There are apps and tools that can help you organize your schedules and tasks. Find a scheduler that will help you track your tasks easily so you won’t miss any deadlines or calls.
Create files and folders where you can categorize your work for each client or document needed. Be sure to back up your files and make copies of your backups. Save them in different places online and on your computer. Also store them in an external drive. I find that it also helps to write down information on paper sometimes.
When keeping physical files, keep them organized in a folder or envelope and arrange them on your desk or storage area. Label them and keep them alphabetical if possible for easy access.
Begin working with the most urgent and important task first. Don’t work on something that can be delayed or which may take up a lot of time but is not urgently needed.
Make a schedule and routine and keep at it. An organized mind makes an organized person and that means an organized day and a much effective work.
If you don’t understand a task assigned to you, ask your client about it. Communicate clearly what you need. Let your client know if something bothers you or if you think you can’t finish a certain task before the deadline. Be clear with the terms you set when transacting or with your negotiations.
Take several breaks
Take a break once in a while. Get up from your chair and take a walk. Rest. You will not be able to work effectively and efficiently if you are too exhausted. The information and work in general could get exhausting. You will not be able to think clearly if your brain is too saturated with details and data to process. Be a kind boss to yourself. Take several breaks in one day. Breathe!
Respect the client
Respect your client by doing the job entrusted to you. They’re paying you to work so give them their money’s worth. Respect their time by being online when they ask you to or being on time during a meeting. Be respectful in your tone even in writing emails.
Don’t reply if unnecessary
Don’t entertain messages or calls during work hours. When you have to open your social media for example to post an update or check messages related to business, do not reply to comments from friends on your posts or chats. You may not realize that it has already taken so much of your time that should have been dedicated to working. You may also avoid this by letting your friends know not to disturb you at certain hours because you may be online and see their messages but you are actually working.
Don’t lose your work-life balance
Don’t let work take over your life. Be sure to keep a work-life balance. Stop working if you can and go out or bond with people. Schedule a trip or a holiday. Don’t put your life on hold because of work. Make time for your hobbies and passion. Find the balance between your career and personal life.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
It’s tempting to keep on accepting gigs after gigs because it means you will earn more. But you can only take enough. Know your limits. Don’t accept more works when you have a lot of unfinished tasks. Finish them first before starting on a new project. You might not be able to deliver or if you could, your work may not be impressive. This will affect you as feedback from clients will impact your online career. Don’t bite more than you can chew.
Don’t accept a project that you have little knowledge of. If you are not confident with what is being asked, don’t work on it. Don’t get an online job that will not let you grow too. Find one you can benefit from in the long run. Choose a task or gig carefully so you will not get yourself burned out.
You have every opportunity to delay work when you’re at home. You can dillydally and allow distractions to take your mind off your goal. This will only make your work pile up. Finish what you can the soonest time possible. So you have more time to work on other things and have more time to rest as well.
Don’t skip meals
Eat on time and eat right. Don’t skip meals. If possible, prepare your meal beforehand. Create a make ahead meal plan that is good for a few days or until one week. Never neglect your body’s needs. If you’re not well, you will not be able to work well. That means losing more money instead of earning more.
With today’s technology, earning money can be done without leaving home and even in your pajamas. The adjustment at first may not be easy but eventually, as you learn the ins and outs and you get through the difficult part, you will learn to navigate it smoothly in no time.
To be effective in working from home, set some ground rules. Follow these dos and don’ts to begin with and you’ll eventually love how things run. I am speaking from experience.