Working from home is becoming more common every day, but while the prospect sounds inviting, it still comes with its own tradeoffs that you need to keep in mind when telecommuting. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance becomes tricky when your office isn’t separated by a thirty-minute commute. Luckily, a few simple tips can make working from your home easier and more productive than you might even expect.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
Just because you don’t work at the office doesn’t mean your whole house needs to be your new office. Having a dedicated place to get your work done, separate from where you live the rest of your life helps to cut down on distractions and keep you from worrying about work when you’re not supposed to be working. Even if you don’t have a spare room to make into a home office, something as simple as having your work desk be away from the living room or putting your company laptop away and out of sight will help in this pursuit.
Have a Work Routine
Working from home means not having to commute. However, it doesn’t mean that you should abandon your entire daily routine in the name of convenience. Getting dressed and cleaned up for work, even if slightly more relaxed than the regular office dress code, maintaining a dedicated work shift, assuming your company doesn’t keep standard hours, and taking your lunch at the same time each day all help keep the idea of dedicated working time in your mind. This helps keep you focused on your assignments instead of getting distracted by the various things around your home that inevitably call on your attention.
At the other end of the spectrum, keeping this routine also helps keep work from creeping uncomfortably into your personal life, which is terrible for your work-life balance. Getting accustomed to working at all hours of the night makes it hard to make time for friends and family, since your mind will start to drift toward the project you could be finishing.
Working from home means you will be using phones, messengers, and emails instead of meeting your coworkers in person. For some people, this is a godsend for avoiding awkward office small talk, but for many it is a potential source of frustration, as every request now takes extra time. To save your energy and your blood pressure, schedule your projects with these possible delays in mind, and accept that people won’t always answer immediately.