Sunday, 5 July 2009

Make working from home work - Part I

In these recession-ridden days, many people are considering jobs or projects which would require them to work independently from home. For many, this seems like a dream fulfilled - working at your own pace, in a flexible environment, able to take time out when you feel like it and so on. For others, it is their worst nightmare - no colleagues around to chat to, long days on your own, the need to continually motivate yourself to get things done.

I've worked from home on and off for almost 15 years now, and here are my top 3 hot tips for making it work! I'll continue with more tomorrow in Part II.

1. Designate a particular space / desk / table which is your working area. Ideally, this would be a separate room, but if not, put your desk in a corner of a room which is not used as the main living area. I have a dedicated office now but, years ago, I lived in a small apartment and put my desk/computer in a corner of the bedroom so that the living area was not a "work space".

2. Get some storage together for your work materials - either a filing cabinet, a box or whatever . Then you can put things away where you can find them again, and they are not in peril of the cat, the child or the cleaner ruining them or throwing them out in error.

3. Decide on your minimum working hours and days. Very early on, I found that thinking "Don't feel like working this afternoon, I'll go out to play and make the time up at the weekend" does NOT work for me. Not only did I not feel like doing work at the weekend, I also recognized that my work requires me to communicate with other people, most of whom are available during office hours Monday to Friday.

Nowadays, 9am is my deadline for starting work (and that means having got out of bed, showered, dressed and furnished myself with ample cups of coffee BEFORE 9am) and I usually finish around 5-6pm (depending on how much work I have on and when my husband comes home from his office). I can work later if needed or take time off if needed, but those are my working hours.

More in my next post....on controlling interruptions from friends and family, and equipping your home office with enough gadgets to make you look professional!

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