Simpsons episode screenshot of large homer working from home

The majority of my working week is spent working from my home office. The main reason I do this is because the commute time between dropping off my children and our office is a lot greater than from home. The other benefit is that when I’m working from home I am so much more productive as there are a lot less distractions as I am partial to a chat!

Other people find it more difficult to work from home, because at home they have more distractions; like doing the washing, DIY projects, a daytime movie or the fridge and pantry… So if you are one of these people who fall into this category I’ve put together a list of things I believe assist you with being able to effectively work from home:

  • Make sure you have a defined office space that complies with OH&S requirements, is well lit and comfortable
  • Keep your workspace clean, organised and clear of clutter. Disorganised and messy offices spaces are distracting and often become stressful to manage
  • Utilise technology and make sure your business has a cloud based system that you and your employees can access from any location
  • Be organised, and plan your days. You know the number of hours you have available for working, ensure you have a ‘to do’ list so that you remain focused on what you need to complete
  • Schedule time for breaks. This may be to raid the fridge, go to the gym or hang out the washing. To avoid back, neck and posture issues it is really important you get out of your chair and move. Taking a break also gives you time to clear your head and re-focus on your next tasks
  • Put your home phone on silent. This ensures that you don’t get distracted talking to friends and family, and the phone doesn’t ring if you are on another call or webinar. The same applies to friends who unexpectedly drop by – pretend you are not home!
  • Ensure your team know how and when you are available to talk. When you are not located in the office it is vital you touch base with each team member regularly to maintain your relationship and ensure that you are on the same page with regards to priorities and what needs to be done
  • Make use of free or inexpensive technology to communicate with your team members. Use software like Skype, FaceTime and Google+ hangouts
  • Working from home should not completely replace working in the office. Make sure you schedule regular days in the office with your team. It is important to have face time and continue to build relationships with each member of your team

 

Most people love the flexibility to be able to work from home, but it does work better for some roles than others. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do when working from home.

The greatest challenge I face when working from home is knowing when to stop working and ‘be in the moment’ with my family. When you are passionate about what you do, you find you are constantly thinking about work related items and it is hard to switch off. My advice is to keep work within the hours you plan, but outside these hours have a notepad open to jot down ideas or things you need to do during your next working day. Having the flexibility to work from home is fabulous, but you need to be disciplined!