If you’ve just started your own business, you’re probably working out of a home office, but is your home office working for you? While there are many perks to entrepreneurship and working from home – freedom, flexibility and the fridge, to name a few – these same benefits can become challenges when it comes to getting the job done.
How to Get The Most Out Of Working From Home
Is your productivity suffering? Do you find you are working too much? Here are a few tips to make working from home actually work for you.
1. Make a Schedule and Stick to It
This is perhaps the most important rule of at-home work. It’s easy to get into a routine of rolling out of bed and onto the couch with your laptop in hand, or working at all hours of the night, but that’s not healthy or productive. Just like an office, you need to set your business hours. Get showered and dressed to start your day, and shut down the laptop at a reasonable hour. It’s also a good idea to schedule non-work appointments outside of business hours. Make dentist or doctor appointments at the beginning or end of the day, so as not to interrupt your workflow.
2. Designate a Work Space
If you’re starting an at-home business, it’s best to have a separate office, or at the very least, a designated desk and chair. While the beauty of working from home is that you can truly work anywhere, the problem with the sofa is that you may be more inclined to take a nap or switch on the TV. Remember to keep your work space tidy and reserve a separate folder or drawer for personal paperwork, so you aren’t tempted to balance your checkbook or pay the electric bill on company time.
3. Take Breaks
Don’t forget to give yourself a 15-minute break from the screen every few hours. Stand up, stretch, take a walk outside. Sure you can browse the web or turn on the television, but consider setting an alarm on your phone so 15-minutes doesn’t turn into 2 hours. For entrepreneurs who have a habit of skipping or forgetting to take a lunch break, consider setting up a calendar reminder. You also might want to make a regular lunch date with colleagues or arrange for mid-day appointments with potential clients to ensure you get out of the office and engage socially.
4. Limit Distractions
While it can be tempting to play music or turn on the television, even if just for background noise, consider an alternative like noise cancelling headphones or a white noise machine. You should also avoid browsing the web, checking social media, or responding to personal texts and calls unless you are on a designated break, as these can be a serious time suck. If you have family at home, make sure they understand there are times when you are not be disturbed, and if you have a home phone, don’t answer it during business hours.
5. Stay Out of the Kitchen
If you’ve always worked in an office, you may not realize how dangerous it is to have unlimited access to your kitchen. If you’re not careful, all day snacking can lead to the telecommuter’s version of the freshman 15. Keep healthy snacks, like fruits and veggies, on hand, and leave the light off to remind yourself that the “kitchen is closed.” That goes for household chores, too. Save emptying the dishwasher or throwing in a load of laundry for after work hours.
6. Find Effective Ways to Collaborate
When done effectively, working from home is a great way to isolate yourself to get some work done without interruption. But, sometimes when you’re working from home you still need to collaborate with your team or your clients. That means you’ll need to find creative ways to connect since you can’t be face to face. From shared Google docs, spreadsheets, emails, and instant messaging platforms to video conferencing, online meetings, and phone calls, it’s important to explore your options so you can still work as a part of your team even when you’re in a remote location. (Check out our tips for effective virtual meetings here!)
Make Working from Home Work For You!
By following these few simple rules, working from home can be a healthy and productive endeavor. Even still, a home office isn’t for everyone.
So what’s an entrepreneur on a budget to do? Finding affordable office space near Boston isn’t as hard as you might think. The Lakeside Park has several offices for rent, as well as fully-furnished executive suites, at prices you can afford.