The option to work at home is appealing to many working mothers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24% of employed people did some or all their work at home. More and more companies understand the value of a good work-life balance, and the number of work at home employees is expected to grow. Studies have shown that employees tend to be happier, more productive, and stay longer when they work at home. However, working at home can still be a challenge.
If you work at home, try these simple tips to ensure your work at home experience is a happy and productive one. This post is geared towards those that have an employer, but some tips are applicable to the self-employed as well.
1. SET UP A DISTRACTION FREE WORKSPACE
Having the proper work space is vitally important to a successful work at home experience. Sure, you have the benefit of being at home, but you still want an office feel. If possible, the ideal would be a work space separate from your living space. If it has a door, all the better. However, if you are in an open space, be sure to limit distractions like TV, and family that may be at home.
2. STICK TO A SCHEDULE
You must create, and stick to a schedule! This is one tip that I struggled with. I found that I would take my laptop from my home office to the dinner table with my family. I had to learn when to cut it off. Often you end up working more hours when you work for home, but if your goal is to have a good work-life balance, stick to a schedule as much as possible. As a working parent, you already have limited time with your family, so make the best out of the time you have
Take breaks. If you were in the office, you would likely take breaks to talk with a co-worker, or eat lunch. You will need occasional breaks at home as well. When I worked at home, I took my lunch at just about the same time each day. I would physically leave my home office, shut the door, and eat lunch in another room. Let’s face it, breaks are needed for your mental health.
If you have family that is home during your work hours, be very clear on your schedule to avoid distractions. It’s also important to be clear with your team on the hours you are working. Of course, as with any job, you will need to be flexible from time to time.
3. SET DAILY GOALS
Setting goals is something you should do whether you are in the office, or working at home. Set realistic, yet challenging goals, and create a list. I use Outlook quite a bit, but I am a big fan of the old fashioned written check list as well. Whatever the method, be sure to set your goals, and create a list at the start of your day. It will feel great to check these items off your list at the end of your work day.
4. PAJAMAS ARE FOR SLEEPING
Get dressed! A part of getting into work mode, is dressing the part. Now you don’t have to dress like you are going into the office, but you should get dressed for the day. Establish a morning routine; shower, brush or comb your hair, and eat breakfast.
5. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE TEAM
Working at home can lead to a feeling of isolation, or disconnect with your team and/or manager. Rather it be email, instant message, or video conferencing, it is best to keep in contact with your team daily. You should not have to feel like you must prove you are working, but you want to nurture as much camaraderie as possible, and this often takes more effort when working remotely.
It can be very rewarding working from home; it promotes a good work-life balance when you set yourself up to succeed. Create the right environment, set and communicate your schedule, establish a routine, and keep in touch with your team!