For as long as I can remember, I have had the desire to work-at-home. I mean, how can you beat working from the comfort of your own home?! I’d always find myself on the hunt for remote job opportunities, but somehow they’d always end up being scammy.
With 2020 throwing us a new curveball every month, the coronavirus outbreak has forced more and more people into making the switch from commuting to work to transitioning their work-life home. As a result, many businesses were forced to switch to virtual hiring and employment, causing a boom in work-at-home (and/or remote) opportunities.
My job just so happened to be one of those companies that had to make the switch. Since they weren’t able to pause the campaigns that we were working as customer service representatives for several essential businesses, we were sent to work-at-home.
To be honest, I was super excited to be able to work at home despite the circumstances. This was one more step towards making the switch to working 100% remotely, which is a massive goal for me.
Some skeptics out there will say that the trend is short-lived, and many people will be forced to return to the workplace after the pandemic passes. However, they are skeptics, and with a little preplanning, this does not have to be the case. Personally, I feel like either way it goes, this was the first brick on my path to being a remote worker. Now it’s up to me to put things in motion and work on securing this lifestyle. Whether that means that I am sticking to my current job or looking for another opportunity isn’t clear yet. Still, I am on a mission to do it one way or another!
Although I was excited to be switching to the work-at-home life, I knew that it wouldn’t be without its challenges. With my inconsistent experiences working remotely on a freelance basis, I am familiar with the worry, lack of motivation, and never-ending distractions that WILL happen. The most common question that I’ve heard come up in this process is usually, “How on earth do you get things done when there are so many distractions?”
In this post, I’ll share 10 useful tips you can apply when transitioning to working from home.
Tip # 1: Define your WHY
The first thing you need to address is whether or not you actually WANT to work at home. Even though you may have been sent home to work due to the pandemic, you will want to decide whether this is a type of lifestyle you want to maintain regularly.
For me, that’s a simple YES! Why? I am seeking ways to supplement my income and create a better work-life balance. The freedom I desire is to be my own boss and set my own work hours.
In your case, there may be other things that you’d want to consider. Are you a parent looking to spend more time with the kids? Will it save you money on transportation and commuting? Are you able to be productive when working alone?
All of these factors can definitely come into play, and even work out to your benefit, when working from home. Defining your reason for working at home will motivate you to adapt and grow along the way to make it happen.
Tip #2: Set A Goal & Make A Commitment
Notice that I said along the way. Working from home is not the lazy person’s ticket out. If you have decided to work at home, you have made a critical decision that will impact your future, financially and otherwise.
It takes commitment, effort, organization, and effort to be successful at getting a lot of work done. You will need to have clearly outlined goals that you will work towards achieving, and this will keep you motivated and focused on your work-at-home business.
Tip #3: Make A Designated Work Area
Intentionally setting up a quiet and private working space from the start is definitely worth it if you want to ensure you can get things done in peace.
This could be in a spare room or a tucked-away corner of your house. If you don’t have an extra room available where you can close (and lock) the door for some privacy, I’d recommend that you try to use a room that isn’t frequently used during the times you plan to work.
You can also put a sign on the door when you’re trying to work to let others know not to disturb you.
Tip #4: Get All the Necessary Equipment
For you to be successful with working in your home, you’ll need to make sure that your office is fully set up with all the equipment you’ll need, as this will help you be more productive while you work. You’d also want to make sure the workspace is comfortable, too. Your home office is where you are going to spend several hours a day — you probably won’t get a lot done if you aren’t comfortable.
Most newbie remote workers often overlook this aspect, thinking that they will be okay working from anywhere, thus causing a lot of hardship, pain, and discomfort along the way. Poor equipment and thoughtless workspace layout are the main culprits for making the work-at-home life harder than it has to be.
When you work from home, you are bound to spend several hours seated on your chair, at a desk, in front of a computer screen. It stands to reason that you have to take pride in choosing your computer, desk, and chair for your Home Office setup.
First, a good computer with a large hard disc, a quick processor, a quality keyboard, and dual monitors are essential! Your desk will need to have enough space for everything to sit neatly. The best chair for working has to be a comfortable swivel chair with an adjustable height, adjustable backrest with lumbar support, and preferably with arms. Once the basics have been set up, other essentials such as a telephone, fax machine, printer, and storage should be placed within easy reach and without obstructing movement.
Taking the time to set up a workspace ahead of time will ensure that you will be comfortable and happy working from home. Create an environment that will inspire, motivate, and stimulate you on your journey.
Tip #5: Limit your distractions
It is very easy to be distracted while working at home if you aren’t careful. When working from the comfort of your own personal space, everything around you can become a distraction. You have all of the things that you want and need right at your fingertips.
Everything from your phone, television, kids, pets, bed and even your kitchen can take your full attention away from your work. This is especially true if you have kids or pets at home, and it can be tough to concentrate on work. You’ll have a lot more time to do the things you’d like to when you haven’t got the boss breathing down your neck.
Many home workers find it useful to set limits on their interactions with these things during working hours. For example, it could be simply committing to not leaving your work area (or having people enter it) outside of your designated break times. Having boundaries in place makes you more aware of how you’re using your time. It is crucial to have some guidelines to follow while you work at home.
Tip #6: Always get an early start
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is procrastination. When you are at home, it is much easier to spend more time delaying the time you start your day. It’s tempting to lie in and take a few minutes longer to relax in the morning before getting up. However, this only zaps your productivity.
If you want to ensure you stay productive, you’ll want to get up and start your day as early as possible. The positive side to this is that the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll finish. (^_^)
Tip #7: Maintain Your Daily Routine
When you make the transition to working at home, you must try and maintain your usual routine. This means getting ready for work in the same way you usually would if you were going into the office.
So, wake up at the same time, have your usual cup of coffee, and get dressed in your work clothes (or some work-appropriate casual wear). It’s incredible how much of a difference this simple step can make to your productivity.
If you don’t already have one, establish a productive routine for the day as a whole as well. Your daily routine should include all the actions you need to take to succeed in working from home. Prioritize your activities, set your daily to-do list, and follow it diligently to achieve your goals. Trying to maintain your usual routine is one of the best things you can do during these changing times.
Tip #8: Take Your Breaks and Get Out of the House
One of the other benefits of working at home is that you can set your own hours of work, and you can make time to relax when you need it. On the other hand, being in the house so much isn’t that great either.
If possible, take your lunchtime to spend time away from your work area and get out of the house. It’s beneficial for you to make time to step away from the demands of work, even if you only take a walk around the block, a trip to the mall, or a visit with friends. Getting caught up in balancing work and home life is far too easy, but you need adult interaction to clear your head and refresh you even if you work from home.
Tip #9: Find Ways to Stay Motivated
The work-at-home lifestyle requires dedication and commitment. Do not treat your work-at-home life like your hobby! It is your sole responsibility to keep yourself motivated.
Because you are working from home, there will be days when you may not be able to achieve your daily goals for one reason or another. There will be some times where you may encounter feeling discouraged. It is also possible that you start getting lazy and want to do nothing but lounge around the house, sipping margaritas, and having a good ole time. What are the chances of bringing home the ever-important bacon?
If you really want to prosper while working at home, you will need to be committed to finding ways to keep you motivated to be successful.
Tip #10: Connect with Others and Use Your Resources
The final bit of advice that I want to leave you with is to use your resources! While you work at home, the isolation can make you feel like you don’t have any support. In reality, there is a lot of support out there to assist you along the way that is invaluable for making the transition to home employment.
Interact and seek ideas from others. You must make an effort to join any relevant communities where you can learn from others who have been successful with similar work-at-home lifestyles. Networking with others and building your toolbox of resources are essential in shortening your learning curve and helping you grow.
Remote work is becoming a more robust industry as time passes. Working at home is very appealing. Whether you’re an actual employee working from home or have a home-based business, it can be a big adjustment.
If you take the necessary measures to ensure your success, you can reap all the benefits and have a great lifestyle. Following these tips will help you to be successful when transitioning to working from home.
I’ll be sharing more updates like this as I go through my own work-at-home experience, and I’d love to hear about your journey as well! Be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter, From Desi’s Desk… to get my latest updates, just in case you miss any!