7 Tips to Effectively Work at Home

With every passing year, there are plenty of jobs and sectors popping up that just weren’t possible in the past. Take car-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft for example. Both companies have taken conventional wisdom and past possibilities and turned them on their heads.

Growing up, we were always told to be super careful with people we met on the internet and never get into a car with a stranger. Now we use the internet to call a stranger and then willingly hop in their car. 

A decade ago, it was still somewhat special to have a smartphone and their capabilities were only being realized but nowadays we treat those with flip phones as ancient relics whose place belongs in a museum instead of walking around on the street.

Uber and Lyft are just two examples of businesses that have come around thanks to the rise of technology and they aren’t alone. Not only are new businesses popping up, but we are also changing the way we work.

More and more people are working from home each year and it’s a trend that looks like it’s going to continue over the next coming years. It’s great for workers, as they simply have to roll out of their bed to start the day. They’re in the comfort of their own home, don’t have to deal with traffic or deal with the stress of parking.

It’s great for businesses too, as they can save money on office space and establish a sense of trust with their employees. 

Working from home is not without its faults though and some find the isolation and lack of human contact difficult. But there are certainly steps that can be taken in order to work efficiently and effectively at home.

Have ‘Your’ Space

While having a home office is the most ideal scenario, that may not be possible with your current living situation but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your own place set up in your home.

The most important aspect of all this is the mental aspect. When you walk into your office, the corner of the guest bedroom or take over the dining room table for the day, you need to start thinking about how you’re in “work” mode. 

Make it a Distraction Free Zone

Home is where the heart is, but home is also where Netflix is, the Xbox is, your new book is and a whole host of other distractions are. Remember when you were in high school and you’d do anything, including cleaning your own room (gasp) to delay starting that big essay?

When you have your own space, start making it as distraction-free and productive positive as possible. Make sure you have everything you need in reach, so you don’t have to go looking for a notebook then find something else more enjoyable to do. 

There are also certain apps you can put on your device that will keep you off of social media websites. You can set a timer on them and they’ll be blocked until the timer runs out.

Hiring someone to help with children and even pets can make a big difference. Worrying about what your kids and pets are doing or not doing is a huge distraction. If you hire someone make sure you understand the total cost of their employment

Set a Schedule

Have you ever been to a restaurant and you find so many delicious items on the menu you don’t know what to order? Working from home can be similar. Sometimes you have so much time in the day, you don’t know where to begin.

That’s why you need to set a schedule early and do your best to stick to that schedule. Have your breaks and lunch set up at a specific time. Want to go to the gym during the day? Block it in and have your work schedule modified around it. 

Write it all down and have it set in front of you so it’s easy to see and follow.

Get Comfortable

No one is stopping you from wearing your pajamas and comfy slippers while working. It’s one of the advantages to not going into the office. You could choose to wear a suit, but why would you? 

Besides your clothes, perhaps the most important comfort area is your seat. Chances are you’re going to be sitting a lot. That’s why you need to invest in a great office chair. A folding chair out of the garage or the extra kitchen chair isn’t going to cut it here. You’ll want to invest in an ergonomic chair, one with plenty of back support, height options and reclining capabilities. 

Even though the top-of-the-line chairs can be expensive, they are well worth it. Think about the last time you had to drive and didn’t start until you had the perfect chair position. Now think about that same thing happening 7-8 hours a day, every day. Head to your local office supply store and try out all the chairs to find the best one for you. 

Get Out of the House

If you have the capability, take your work and get out of the house once a week. Head to your local coffee shop or library. A change of scenery can be good for the human psyche and physically being around other people (besides your lovely family or roommates) is an ideal situation for a change of pace.

Treat yourself to breakfast or your favorite coffee from a cafe or shop once in awhile. 

Find Your Off Button

Just like you have to have “your” space in the house to engage in work mode, you also need to find that off button to move on with the rest of your life.

For you, it could be a time of the day or a moment like when your kids come back from school. Some people may think that having your work just a few feet away at a moment’s notice means you’re always on the clock. Here’s the truth: you’re not. Be sure and find that off button and commit to it. No emails, no conference calls, nothing. 

Sharing the Space

If you’re running your own business from home, you may have another person with you such as a coworker or personal assistant. The same ideas above apply to them. They need to have their space and find a place to be comfortable as well. 

Take the time to get out of the house together or work apart for a bit so you don’t drive each other crazy over the course of the year. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.