Blog 20: Work from Home? How to Keep Your Workday Productive
Work, work, work. Sometimes it feels like all you do is work. You get up in the morning to get ready, drive to the office, meet with coworkers, type up a report for that picky client, and try to sneak in a lunch somewhere. When you get home, you want to spend time with your family, but you may still need to recover from the workday.
If you feel like your life revolves around work, you may have an alternative: work from home. You get the convenience of staying at home as you earn your cheque. However, when you work from home, you pick up a double-edged sword. While any professional can have a difficult time keeping their home and work lives separate, it’s especially hard to separate office stresses from family life when you work from home.
Read this blog to get a few tips to help with that separation.
Set Physical Boundaries
Don’t Let Your Work Follow You
One of the most important things you can do to separate your home and work life is to literally separate them. Whether you are lucky enough to have a set-aside office or will have to do all your work from a desk in the living room, keep all your materials in that location.
Since you work from home, it’s tempting to stay as comfortable as possible. Why not bring your work into the bedroom so you can lie on the bed or in the den so you can relax on the couch? After all, you may be even more productive when you can unwind. Right?
Wrong. Be sure to keep the rest of your home free from work stress.
When you leave your workspace, you should feel free from it like you do a traditional office building. If you bring your work into your bedroom, living room, kitchen, or anywhere else throughout your home, the stresses will follow you there.
Rent a Separate Mailbox
Many storage companies offer convenient and affordable mailbox rentals for at-home professionals. Take advantage of this service to prevent business letters and packages from overloading your home’s mailbox.
If you include your address on professional itineraries or letterheads, this can also protect your family’s privacy. Most at-home workers do not want clients to access their homes, and this added layer of anonymity ensures that won't happen.
In addition, your family may make a local move. While it’s not far for you, you would still have to change your business address, which can cause frustration for you, your company, and your clients. With the help of a rented mailbox, you won’t have to go through that hassle. Contact Yellowhead Storage for more information about affordable mailbox rental options in Edmonton.
Change Your Clothes
This may sound like a simple or even unnecessary step, but change your clothes before you start work. It is more comfortable to work in your pajamas, but you need to put yourself into “work mode.” This physical change of appearance can help you mentally separate work issues from home worries.
Set Time Boundaries
Standardize Work Hours
At-home professionals reap many benefits from their home office, but many have a hard time keeping a regular schedule. In traditional office settings, you have a clear agenda. While you sometimes need to stay later or come in earlier, you generally have a set schedule.
However, many at-home professionals throw that program out the window, and their home life can suffer for it. Create a work schedule for yourself so you can free yourself up to be with your family. When you stick to the schedule, you will alleviate the need to revisit your work throughout the day or night when you could spend time with your family and friends.
If you want to keep to that schedule, you must prevent procrastination. While offices can lead to distracting conversations between coworkers or online browsing, your home offers many, many more procrastination pitfalls.
To help with this common problem, write down everything you do throughout the workday. Everything. If you go to the bathroom, time how long it took. Did you pick up your phone to play a game? Write it down. Understand your habits, adjust your schedule, and post it so your family can see. That accountability might make you think twice before you get lost on your favourite time-wasting website.
Only Work during Work Hours
When you work from home, you may feel you should do chores around the house. That’s likely accurate; however, do those chores after the workday ends. Don’t let these at-home cares distract you from your schedule. While you might need to pick up a sick child from school or make an unscheduled trip to the store, those moments should be exceptions, not the norm.
Get Your Family Involved
Families who feel they have a stake in your at-home business tend to be more supportive. Get them involved to keep you accountable and help you celebrate your successes. If you do accomplish that and the other tips we’ve discussed, you’ll be well on your way toward an effective at-home office.