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Article Contributed by Courtney Capellan 

You work from home. You’re the envy of the cubicle crowd, the nine-to-fiver’s and the commuters. And the smug satisfaction you get from their jealousy never fails to give you a little boost. You’ve never heard of traffic- the only highway you travel is your hallway. You wear pajamas. And yes- you set your own schedule.

Many benefits are obvious but the challenges are often overlooked.  Above all, you understand that working from home is just a fancy way of saying homework.

Whether you’ve been doing it for years or are considering it– here are ways to maximize the benefits and tackle the challenges of working from home.

Work is work no matter when you do it.  It might be a series of tasks or a big project- either way you’re accountable for completing it at some point. Sticking to your own schedule is key.

  • Be honest with yourself. If you’re not a morning person- don’t work in the mornings! Early meetings or urgent deadlines are unavoidable but that doesn’t mean you should sleepwalk through work on a daily basis. Many people don’t “turn on” until the evening. If your hours are flexible, go ahead and work at night if that’s when you’re creative juices are flowing!
  • Take breaks. Snacking in front of your screen all day is not multi-tasking. This behavior leads to burnout. Pack a lunch beforehand and avoid too many trips to the kitchen.
  • Take down the clock. If you’re staring at it every five minutes you’re probably looking for an excuse. An hourglass is a great desktop accent that’ll measure efficient 20-30 minute sessions of work.

Work Space. Separating your work space from your living space is crucial for productivity.

  • Justify the extra room. Even if it’s above your budget or beyond your instinct – having that extra room for work is imperative. Convert that spare bedroom or start combing the ads for a bigger rental. At the very least, make sure you have a door to close on your business space.
  • Negative space. Arranging furniture can be inspiring but paying attention to where furniture isn’t is also important. If there’s a window that lets in great light, don’t block it with a bookcase. Leave open space between the entrance and your desk. Use Feng Shui principles in designing your office. It’s not as esoteric as you may think.
  • Sit and stay awhile. A good office chair is like a good bed. You spend a lot of time there so spend a little extra on one.
  • Green space. Plants create a comfortable environment and the right ones purify the air.

Things that work. Technology, communication, compatibility and portability – all allow us to work remotely. The trick is having batteries in your remote (control).

  • Get user-friendly. If your company provides you with a device or software, they expect you to use it. If you don’t understand how to use it, what’s the point? Reach out and get help.
  • Going mobile. The laptop at a coffee shop scene is a privilege. Invest in good headphones that block out distraction. Don’t forget your chargers. “My phone died” is as lame as “my dog ate my homework.”
  • White boards work. Step away from the keyboard and pull out your dry-erase marker. Brainstorming in a big visual way is helpful when you’re stumped.
  • Look good. Sometimes getting dressed just makes you feel better. Even if there’s nobody to be presentable for- take a shower and do your hair. It’s part of feeling like you’ve shown up to work.

Working with others. You don’t have to be a homebody to appreciate the quietude of a home office. On the other hand, you don’t want to feel isolated.

  • Team communication. Whether by video or phone calls- keep in touch with your colleagues daily. No shame in calling people just to chat. It may be that they just want to talk to someone too.
  • Many entrepreneurs and small business owners have a tendency to take it all on themselves. Developing, maintaining, and tracking an online business takes work and experience you may not have. Partners worth considering for a healthy website are web designers, digital marketers and an SEO team.
  • Music is a great companion. Turn up the tunes. Cloud music and radio streaming can fill unwanted silence and these services eliminate the distraction of fiddling for songs. Create playlists of songs with limited lyrics.
  • Be clear with family members about your space and schedule. Interruptions from others may be unavoidable but they have potential for becoming unproductive habits – for example, letting your kids in your office.

Work out. Your brain gets a workout all day long. Make sure your body gets one too.

  • At-home gym. If you don’t have a gym membership, high quality gym equipment can be purchased in packages that will fit your living space and ability.
  • Spinal exercises. Yoga postures are great for everyone. Seek out a teacher or watch a video and incorporate the six movements of the spine as part of your routine.
  • Hands on relaxation. Massage is therapeutic and often overlooked as physically beneficial. Build a relationship with a local masseuse and inform him/her of your office desk lifestyle and injuries.

Don’t work. Some imagine that working from home would be hard, fearful that they would never be able to get anything accomplished. As it turns out, most people say the opposite is true. It can be tough not to work when work is always right there!

  • Don’t work on Sundays. If you have to put in additional hours, plan for Saturday instead. Having that one day off before Monday is important to feel recharged and productive.



1 Response to Working from Home – Overcoming Challenges & Optimizing Benefits

  3 Questions to Ask When Setting up a Business from Home by

January 21st, 2016 at 11:39 pm

[…] you on, this may not be the best option for you. However, if you’re the type of person who can learn how to ignore the distractions around you, this may be […]

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