Thanks to computers, e-mail, cell phones, and all the other conveniences of modern communication, more and more employees are able to work out of their houses and apartments and bypass a faraway office or distant city entirely. The home office arrangement may seem ideal, and it can be, under the right circumstances. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Separate Church & State!
If possible, your home office should be physically and psychologically removed from rooms that you normally associate with leisure, relaxation, and pure fun. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a scenario of work, work, work all the time, and who needs that? It’s far too tempting to sneak away from dinner or a cozy evening with your family to cast one final look at your email inbox or your iPhone. Alternatively, many people who work at home are faced with non-technological distractions: that comfy bed over there for a quick nap, the kitchen for whipping up a quick smoothie. Overall do your best to maintain the boundaries between the personal and the professional.
2. Create Divisions & Structure
Not only within the physical space of your home or apartment, but also within your own head! Decide what time you’re going to go to your office, and what time you’re going to call it quits for the day. Then stick to it! Eight hours a day is more than enough to get everything done. Any longer, and your efficiency wanes.
3. Maintain Order
A clean, well-organized office will make you feel in control of your life, and save you hours of digging through drawers in search of a pen, a cell phone charger, or a box of paper clips. A good rule of thumb is keep your work space as clean as you would if your boss were to walk by!
4. Stock Up!
Keep your home office well-stocked! You can save time, energy, and emergency trips to the store by making sure you have more than enough of everything you need at all times. Additionally, taking multiple trips to your kitchen or living space could prove to be a major distraction.
5. Discipline is KEY!
It’s important to create good everyday habits and to adhere to high standards of personal and professional discipline. Get your exercise out of the way in the morning, then shower, dress, and “go to the office.” At the end of the day, physically “leave the office for the day – then sink into the comfort of your home.