People choose to work from home for many reasons. It may be that you are a self-employed person whose business takes place largely online, or as a craftsperson – or perhaps you are employed by a company but work from home for health reasons, sheer issues of geography, or simply because you enjoy it and because you can. Whatever your reason, working from home can be a very rewarding and enjoyable way to earn your living. You are able to control and design your own space, cut down entirely on commuting costs, and have the conveniences of home there whenever you need them.
However, nothing is perfect, and working from home has its own downsides you may need to deal with. Below are a few common issues, and the best ways to troubleshoot them for the best and most productive home office experience.
Here is the most common complaint from those who work from home; it’s much harder to concentrate, and much easier to get distracted by various home comforts and tasks than if you are working in an office. There are a few simple steps you can take to combat this. The first is to make sure you are creating a dedicated space for work within your home. This will ideally be a separate study room, but if this is not possible then at least a dedicated desk away from your usual areas for relaxation (i.e. the bedroom or the lounge). It’s also psychologically important to get dressed properly in the morning – working in pajamas has been shown to be highly ineffective – and if possible, to keep to your usual working hours.
Annoyingly, if you are working from home, other people can take this as an excuse to waste your time. Friends and relatives may find it far more acceptable to call you for lengthy conversations in the middle of the working day than if they knew you were in an office – and other workers aren’t exempt from this habit either. One simple solution is to keep your working-from-home status private from as many people as possible. Most of the time, they will assume you are in an office, and bother you far less. If this is not possible, try being honest with friends and family and asking them not to call during working hours.
One of the most frustrating aspects of working from home, particularly as a self-employed business, is the lack of support when software or internet access breaks down, and you can no longer rely on the company IT department to fix everything for you. It’s worth doing some research on websites such as www.solutionpartner.com to set up your own IT support for working at home. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have wasted a whole day of work due to technical problems outside your control – don’t let this ever happen to you again.
Finally, possibly the most important step you can take to maximize your working from home experience, is to create a workspace where you feel comfortable, productive and psychologically ready to take on the day. Choose an area with great natural sunlight, invest in some house plants to give your desk a bit of life, and make sure you have an organized space for all your files and documents, to minimize time spent searching for everything you need.