The idea of working from home is enticing as most people do not relish dealing with the daily commute or workplace politics. However, aspects such as setting up an appropriate workspace, separating work time from down time as well having the motivation to be consistently engaged in the work process are real factors to consider.
Consideration number 1 is where to create your designated workplace. Have an area in your home that clearly states to yourself and those that live there that, the space is delegated as a work domain. Some people have a spare room, use a large closet or if you have a reasonable sized garden a common trend at present is building a summer house and converting it into an office, this way it is fully detached from the living area.
Consideration 2 is to buy professional hardware, software and internet requirements. Invest in a good computer. Look at RAM, storage capacity, speed and ensure it has enough USB and other ports as necessary. If you do a lot of digital face-to-face meetings, purchase a quality camera and microphone. The computer should have enough space to handle any type of software upgrades.
Software may be something you are required to purchase. There is some office software worth looking into according to Eric Folgate’s piece, 25 Online Resources for Freelancers and Small Businesses, that may be low cost or free such as Google+.
Have a separate phone line or use a VoIP service. If you are on the phone regularly, use a headset with a microphone.
Look at all-in-one printers that do photocopying, scanning and printing. Doing your homework by investigating different office equipment suppliers to get the best office devices for your needs will pay off in the long run.
Ensure the wi-fi service you have is a highspeed bandwidth. It is a good idea to have a laptop ready to take to an area that has wi-fi in case there is a sudden loss of internet in your area.
Office setup is one thing, but dealing with motivation and ensuring a separation from work time from personal time is a different matter. How do you handle this?
Nothing beats a good routine.
According to Paul Tassi’s article, 11 Ways to stay Motivated while Working from Home, behave as if you do have to go out to an office. Wake up at a time and start your day to match regular office hours. Be ready and dressed instead of remaining in pajamas.
Get organised by planning a routine that includes work, family, friends, exercise and play. Write it all down in a calendar that includes the time you start work and the time you end work. Ensure that you have regular social contact that can range from taking your laptop to a coffeeshop with wi-fi to be around people or emailing a friend. Plan social engagements such as lunch with friends. During your work day, get up and move for about ten minutes at a time, and work in formal intense physical exercise.
To discover what motivates you, find what energises you and have a picture of that in your workspace. Many people have custom photo prints of their family and are motivated by the fact that they are the sole breadwinner. Some individuals have pictures of a home to purchase or a vacation that motivates them to keep going.
The practice of these guidelines should help provide a professional interface with an office and clients and allow you to have a more balanced work and home life.