For many self-employed people, working in the home office is the norm. But with the Corona crisis at the latest, home office has become the rule for many employees as well.
I myself have been working in the home office for over 6 years and have therefore been able to gain more than enough experience with the subject. In order to work from home smoothly you should follow these tips:
1. Get out of the pyjamas
Even if no one else is at home, you should not sit at your desk until you are showered and dressed every day. This forms a noticeable boundary between your private and professional life. In addition, you will quickly realise that changing your clothes alone will enable you to get into work mode in your home office more quickly. It may also help if, instead of wearing casual clothes in your home office, you wear your business clothes in the office, which you exchange for something casual at the end of the working day.
2. Focus & turn off distractions
Your own home offers many possibilities for distraction. However, in order for you to make progress with your home office work, it is important that you can focus on the things that are really relevant.
Set up your workspace at home in a place where you are not disturbed or unnecessarily distracted. It can also be helpful to note down everything that distracts you for a week and then try to take measures to remove these distractions from your home office.
3. Planning the day in your home office
The additional freedom you have in your home office can also quickly become an obstacle for some people. If there is no one to tell you what to do, suddenly a week goes by and nothing really gets done.
This can be remedied by planning your day. Either sit down the evening before after work or in the morning and plan your day.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Which tasks currently need to be completed?
- Which tasks have priority?
- Which long-term projects do I want to advance?
Once you know what to do, you should set priorities behind each of these tasks and also estimate how long it will take you to complete each task.
The tasks with the highest priority are the first ones you work through and then you devote yourself to the other tasks. It can also be helpful to reserve a time slot for each task in the calendar. This will give you a concrete guide through the day and you will have made progress by the evening.
4. Do not forget breaks in the home office
In contrast to the regular office, the home office lacks the colleagues with whom one can chat briefly, take a lunch break or drink a coffee. However, these short breaks are important at work to recharge your batteries and clear your head.
That’s why it’s important in the home office to plan breaks during the day.
There are various ways of doing this:
- Breaks at fixed times (e.g. coffee break at 10:00)
- Breaks when you have completed a big task
5. Get out of the house
People who work from home spend a lot of their private and professional time within their own four walls. The ceiling can sometimes fall on your head. That’s why it’s important that you consciously leave the house to get some variety.
Here are a few examples of what you can do:
- Have lunch in a restaurant nearby
- Take a tour of your neighbourhood
- Work in a coffee house for a few hours
- Go to the park to brainstorm instead of sitting in your home office
The change of environment will get you going again and will also bring new fresh thoughts into your head.
6. Getting in contact with people
Humans are social animals. That is why you should also try to get in touch with other people regularly in your home office.
Here are a few examples of what you can do
- Telephone a business partner instead of sending him an e-mail
- Visit events in your city (trade fairs, networking events, etc.)
- Arrange appointments directly with the customer
- Work a few hours a week in a coworking space
- Find cooperation partners with whom you work
7. Create a feel-good workplace in your home office
At a workplace where you feel comfortable, work is always better. That’s why you should also create a pleasant working atmosphere in your home office. This can be done by, for example, playing your favourite music in the background, tidying up your workspace or making yourself a cup of your favourite tea.
8. Show the family that you work
Not everyone is at home alone while working in the home office. This becomes problematic if you are suddenly constantly disturbed while working. Therefore, communicate clearly that you are in work mode. Tell your family members when you are working and that you do not want to be disturbed during this time. It can also help if you show visually that you are in work mode. This can be done, for example, with a “Do not disturb” sign on the office door.
9. Eat healthy
In the home office, the temptation to snack is great. Others have to deal with the problem that you simply forget to eat, as there are no colleagues to draw your attention to the lunch break.
To keep you healthy and fit, you should therefore make sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet in your home office. A healthy diet also includes drinking enough water during the day. The easiest way to do this is to place a large jug of water on your desk and make sure you have emptied it by the end of the working day.
10. Introduce routines
Routines have the great advantage that you can create structure in your home office everyday life. By means of routines you can control many of the above-mentioned advices well. You can also use routines to work on your professional goals on a daily basis. It is important to follow these routines consistently, because only then will they become part of your everyday life and run almost automatically.
Here are a few examples of how routines can look like in your home office:
- Every day after lunch, take a short walk around the block
- Every day at 10:00, 12:00, 15:00 and 17:00 check & answer all e-mails
- At the beginning of the day, define the 5 most important tasks for the day
- Clean up your desk at the end of the working day
- Do at least one job every day that will help drive new business
11. Overcoming motivation lows in the home office
If you have reached a low level of motivation in your home office, the tips in this article can help you get going again.
Photo: @moyo.studio via Twenty20