When you work from home, it can seem like a dream but it’s easy to drift into bad work habits and turn it into a nightmare ..
You have a lot of perks when you work from home; the flexibility to set your own hours, to wear what you want to the office and take breaks when you feel the need. However, the reality of working from home can be somewhat different. With no direct supervisor, rules and regulations or structure, it can be easy to develop bad working habits. Here are seven work habits you should try and avoid when you work at home.
Working longer hours
When you work in an office, it is easier to turn off the PC and switch off from work for the day. However, when you work from home, it’s tempting to check work emails after your set work hours and do unnecessary overtime. Clients and/or work colleagues may also ring you after hours and on the weekends. It is important to set boundaries for yourself and your clients and only work within the hours that you have set for yourself.
Not taking any breaks
While the majority of office workers think that people working from home are constantly watching TV or videos on YouTube, the opposite is often the case and people are so consumed by work that they forget to take breaks. It’s important to get into a routine and take regularly morning tea breaks, lunch breaks and afternoon tea breaks. Change your work routine once in a while and arrange go out with friends for a well deserved lunch break.
Refusing to take a holiday
When you have your own business or you are a freelancer, it can be difficult to take a holiday when you are not paid annual leave. People who work from home often experience highs and lows and employees who go on holidays are less likely to experience work fatigue and burnout. You are given a lot of freedom and flexibility but it can be very socially isolating. You are more likely to return back refreshed, revitalised and ready to attack work with a renewed spirit and increase your productivity.
Going to work when you feel sick
A common problem with employees or sole traders is that they will still work from home when they are feeling unwell. Although you are not physically commuting to an office, you still need to rest if you are unwell. One of the reasons for this is that people who are freelancers or own their own business are not given annual leave so they may feel forced to ‘go to work’. However, you are running the risk of feeling worse and taking even more days off.
Losing your rhythm
When you first start home employment, it may be hard to get into a routine and develop a rhythm. Working from home gives people a lot of flexibility but you also need to have some discipline, develop regular habits and form a routine. The routine has to be in accordance with your work body clock so if you’re a programmer and you prefer working late nights, then your work day can start from 3pm for example but try and be consistent.
Working in an unproductive work space
While you may not be able to afford to have a separate work space fitted with all the latest mod cons, it is important to try and separate your home life from your work life. Occupational health and safety is just as important in a home office as it is in a large corporation. It is essential you have the correct lighting, an ergonomic chair and an office free from clutter and distractions such as children, the TV or gaming equipment.
Working in your pyjamas
One of the best things about working from home is the flexibility to wear casual clothes. Some people even take it a step further and work in their pyjamas all day. For some people dressing for work can also put them into work mode and make them feel more professional and confident. Choose the work attire you feel comfortable with and make an effort to dress for work. It will do wonders for your professional outlook.
The advantages of work from home are the flexibility and freedom but the lack of routine and consistency can sometimes lead to a lack of work/life balance, work fatigue and social isolation. By following these seven tips, you can put more structure into your day and develop a routine that works for you whether you’re a writer that likes working early in the mornings or a web developer that enjoys working late into the night.