In recent years, millions of people have made the switch from spending eight hours or so every day in the traditional office environment to working from home, and it’s a trend that looks set to continue. For the employer, it means lower energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint, while for the individual worker it can mean a greater sense of freedom and a more convenient and workable lifestyle. Being a blogger, most of us blog at home.
However, there are pitfalls to home working, and they need to be avoided in order to make the venture a success. Those who have yet to sample the pleasure of no longer having to commute and being able to fit work commitments around family life may think it’s all going to be so easy, but unless they’re careful it can prove to be a negative experience. Here are four tips to make sure it’s a success from day one.
Plan a schedule
Many people fall into the habit of just working when the energy and inspiration are there, and relaxing when they’re not. This is not good practice, because if you think about your previous life in a working office, you had a set schedule and you had to stick to it. It’s a good idea to have a similar, but looser, itinerary for when you work from home. Even a rough outline of a timetable is usually enough to help you stay focused.
Let the music play
A little background music is always a good idea if you plan to spend several hours at a time working at a computer screen. No-one’s suggesting you put on a Metallica CD and crank the volume up to a hundred, of course, but something familiar and not too repetitive is a good choice. Whether that means a conventional radio show, your own iPod playlist, or perhaps a Spotify selection, is entirely up to you.
Move around a little
If you’re fortunate enough to have a choice between a desktop PC and a laptop, it’s a good idea to change seats every once in a while, just to keep things fresh. Many people opt for working at a conventional desktop PC during the mornings then sitting on the sofa in the afternoons with the laptop. If it’s a pleasant day, they may even sit in the garden and enjoy a little al fresco working. As always, the choice is up to the individual.
Take regular breaks
It’s advisable to take regular breaks from the working environment, partly because it helps the eyes to recover. Constantly staring at a screen isn’t a good idea, so make sure you stop to get a coffee every once in a while. As well as doing it for health reasons, you should also stop when you want as a little reminder that you’re now working from home, and if you want to stop you damn well can. Sometimes it’s good to underline that fact to yourself.