Working from home can be a dream come true … you can work in your tracksuit, set your own hours and be your own boss. Whether you’re a busy dad or mum working from home or you own your own business, you need to be more disciplined and motivated as you don’t have anyone cracking the whip to get work done or meet deadlines. Here are seven ways to keep you motivated while working from home and living the dream.
Get into work mode
While it might be more tempting to laze around in your pyjamas all day, having a shower and changing into work clothes puts you into work mode and a professional frame of mind. This will increase your motivation and desire to achieve your work goals for the day.
No open door policy
Friends and family may decide to drop in or call you during the day as they know you are working from home or you may have children who expect you to be at their beck and call. Call your friends and family back during a scheduled break or encourage them to schedule regular meeting times as you would if you worked in a physical office. In addition, set a designated time to speak to your children or do household chores. This will do wonders for your sanity and your workload.
Being organised at home is just as important as being organised in an office environment. Even creating a simple ‘To Do List’ will help you prioritise your daily work tasks and help you plan for the week ahead. Diarise all important meetings and phone calls and schedule tasks in your Outlook Calendar. The tools you use do not need to be sophisticated but you do have to use them religiously for them to be able to make a difference to your workload.
Take regular breaks
It’s important to stick to a schedule but just as important to take regular breaks as you would in an office. Generally, this would mean two 15 minute breaks and a longer lunch break. Studies show that taking breaks in a workplace actually makes employees more productive, decreases stress levels and helps avoid injuries like eye strain and repetitive strain injury (RSI).
Decrease your social isolation
One of the reasons for a lack of motivation may be the feeling of social isolation when working from home. Take your laptop to your local library, a nearby cafe or park for a change of pace and mingle with the locals. Schedule lunch meetings at nearby cafes or restaurants or ring your work colleagues, clients and external suppliers instead of emailing. You can also increase your social circles by joining your industry association, getting a gym membership or starting a new hobby such as learning a new language or learning how to cook.
With no boss appearing over your shoulder, it’s easy to fall into the habit of checking your Facebook or Twitter account, answering personal emails or chatting to people via MSN Messenger. Similarly, it may also be tempting to watch your favourite show or get a few household chores done during the day. Try to get into the habit of working set hours with scheduled breaks where you can update your Facebook status, answer personal emails and watch a bit of day time TV.
Work standard hours
Where bosses may fear that employees are not working hard enough at home, the sad reality is that many employees who have the luxury of working from home may work more than the standard 40 hours a week. Don’t fall into the trap of checking your work email every time you turn on the computer and try and keep work and home life separate. Stick to your set hours and complete your work within the time allocated and don’t fall into the trap of a culture of long work hours. This can quickly lead to burn-out and a loss of motivation.
Find a balance between your work, life and play where you’re meeting all your deadlines but you don’t have to work long hours in order to so and you can maintain a busy social life. A work-life balance and a happy and motivated employee are equally important whether you’re working in an external office or working from home.