As you can imagine working from your sofa with a laptop is very different from the structured, professional environment of an office or external work space. So how do you stay efficient, keep yourself motivated, and stay positive at the same time? Here are a few pointers:
It can be very easy to think you will be more comfortable and relaxed just staying in your pyjamas all day, but it is important you don't do this. Getting washed and dressed doesn't only improve your state of mind, but it also psychologically prepares you for the start of your work day. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to dress in business attire, its your choice what you feel is appropriate to wear, and what image you want to give, if you need to do video calls with colleagues and clients. By changing out of the clothes you associate with sleep, you will be motivated to do things such as shower, or leave the house. Likewise, at the end of the day changing out of your work clothes signals to your brain the working day is over.
It is likely that if your employed you have set hours for work, and it is important you try to stick to these as much as possible when working from home too. Get yourself up and ready to start the day as you would normally, in time to start your work the same time you would arrive at your normal place of work, and if possible finish at the same time too. Remember that whilst working from home it is still vital that you keep a good sleep routine, go to bed at a reasonable hour to ensure you get enough sleep and wake up at your usual time. You also need to ensure you remember to incorporate breaks into your day, such as for lunch, and once your working day has finished clear work items away, this will hep you to wind down for the evening. If possible once finished for the day it is good to schedule a workout or another activity you enjoy to help your brain switch off from the days work. By setting and sticking to set boundaries it will help keep your body and mind in a good routine ready for when you have to return to your normal workplace.
Currently you may have to be in self-isolation, but you should still try spend some time at least outside in your garden, and if your not in isolation then make sure you take advantage of the one trip out to exercise currently allowed by the government. By getting out, having some fresh air, and a change of scenery, you will help undo any mental blocks you may have and will hopefully return with a fresh set of eyes ready to knuckle down again. You may decide instead that having a morning bike, run, or walk before starting work helps you get motivated and ready for the start of the day. If you don't have the option of going outside, you could open all your windows up to allow plenty of fresh air in, or you could create the atmosphere of your workplace instead by using an app to play background sounds that are familiar at work.
Generally most people that work from home are alone, or have a space where they can be alone and undisturbed, the less distractions the better, right? However, this can make working from home very lonely, which is no good for anyone's mental health. So make time in your day to call family, a friend, or a colleague and have a real conversation with a real human being (as the cat, dog, or fish don't count!) When working alone it can become very easy to hide behind emails and messages, and become withdrawn from the world, which again isn't mentally healthy at all. By actually calling someone and having a conversation this can help stimulate your mind, raise your spirits, and it is more productive then sending multiple emails.
Ensure you build regular break times into your routine, working from home doesn't mean 7 hours none stop sat working, where work ends up monotonous and counter productive. Also it is not healthy to be glued to a screen all day, or to stay in the same position for too long. Incorporate small regular breaks into your work hours to give you chance to get up from your work space, stretch, move, make food or drinks, or grab a quick breath of fresh air. These regular breaks really are beneficial because working non-stop can mean your productivity levels drop, your more likely to get tired, and your motivation wanes.
Now that we have covered some basic tips on how to stay motivated and healthy during working from home, what about your actual work space? To be at your best when it comes to working at home you need to make sure you create the right space and environment. The type of space you need will depend on what business you will be operating from home, and you will need to carefully consider day-to-day living, guests, family and anything else that happens regularly in your home. If you have family and will be primarily operating from home, you will need to try achieve the best business-family balance as possible. Here are some ideas on how to accomplish a great work space:
If you are lucky enough to have a spare room this will be the perfect space to create yourself your own office/work space area. This way you can close the door to keep business in and family, friends, and pets out. If the room is currently in use as a guest room and the space is taken up with a bed consider replacing this with an alternative sleeping arrangement, such as a futon which can be folded out as and when needed.
If you don't have the luxury of a spare room pick a room in your house where you can minimize distractions, a room that isn't used regularly throughout the day if possible, so not the kitchen, laundry room, or a room where there will be a lot of noise. If you have a large bedroom, turning a corner of it into a work space may be the most ideal as it should be relatively distraction free and again the door can be closed from other people in the house while you work.
These can be great places to create a work space, lots of natural light, doors can be opened up in warmer weather to allow plenty of fresh air in, and they normally can be closed off from the hustle and bustle off the house minimizing distractions. However, they can be a little on the cold side in winter so ensure you have a good heating system installed, also blinds in-case the sun cause glare on your equipment.
If there isn't space in the house then maybe there is space in the garden instead! There are a variety of garden buildings available that can be installed with insulation, electricity and heating to make them a perfect work space, and by physically leaving the house to go to work is a signal to your brain to get ready for the work day.
If you are limited for space all round then an alternative option would be to create a micro-desk. This can be done in a variety of places, such as in an alcove, in the under-stair space, or even in a cupboard. Micro-desks are great space savers and mean that even in the smallest of homes you can have your own work space.
When selecting your work space you need to make sure it is going to be big enough to operate your business. You want to make sure you are working from one area only rather then two or three, as spreading yourself between work areas can make you less productive. However, storing work items in another area is not a problem if you don't have enough room in your designated work space. Also to consider is if you have clients coming to visit you regularly at home, it would be better if possible to set up your work area where you are by a separate outside door, or very close to one. You will also need to consider the amount of noise your work creates, or any byproducts such as dust or fumes, this may mean your ideal space would be a garage or garden building so as not to affect other people in your home.
At our latest development 'Beech Gardens' in Halifax, we took the fact that more and more people are working from home then ever before in to consideration when we started development on our 10 beautiful 5 bedroom detached homes. Each house offers lots of space internally and externally, allowing plenty of room to create you own work space at home. Whether this is using one of the 5 bedrooms as an office, or turning a corner of the spacious living area into a work space, or adding a converted garden building into the garden, finding and creating a place to work from home wouldn't be an issue with these stunning homes.
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