More and more people are starting to work from home. With the global COVID-19 crisis, businesses have been forced to consider this in order to survive. If a vaccine is found that enables the world to have ‘business as usual’ again, it’s unlikely that everyone will return to their formal workplace as before – especially for every working day. 

There are lots of jobs out there to be found, be they proofreading or copywriting. Working from home can sound perfect, particularly if you are an introvert. However, with a new working pattern comes new challenges. They can range from time management, self-discipline, boundaries, and interruptions to loneliness and isolation.

This article is about how to make the best of the home working lifestyle, and how to overcome these challenges.

Cooking Equipment and Food

Eating times should be predetermined, and snack times too. It’s easy to munch away at unhealthy snacks at the desk, without realising how long it’s been happening or how much is being consumed!

If someone is pushed for time and will be busy working on a deadline all day, the last thing they want is to spend precious moments preparing the dinner. When looking online for the most useful kitchen appliance, it was helpful to see that the experts recommend pressure cookers for busy people. This is because once the food has been put inside, it can be just left to cook. One doesn’t even need to check up on it, because a sound will emit once the food’s ready to eat.

Self-discipline

One has to make more of an effort when working from home. No one’s there to check up on you, right? It takes self-discipline to tell yourself ‘I’m going to bed at a suitable time and getting up at the same time each morning’.

It might be good to go for a run or gym session before starting, in order to clear the mind. Lunch breaks also provide good opportunities for taking some exercise.

Clear Boundaries

In order to make a clear dividing line between work and non-work, it might be good to wear office clothes that are changed after hours. Whilst it serves no physical purpose, it can be helpful psychologically.

It’s best to have a specific room for work so there is a sharp divide between working and non-working spaces. An office would be ideal. Using the bedroom for work is not the best as one tries to sleep in the same room. Keeping the desk clear and tidying up papers at the end helps you to switch off and leave it for the next day.

Many people say they work more when doing so from home. There might be fewer distractions from colleagues for instance. That’s why it’s good to break work down into 25-minute chunks. Getting up and moving around is good for the back and for resting the eyes after prolonged screen use. It’s advisable to stay off the phone at these times. The eyes need a break after staring at a pc, and phones or televisions won’t be the best activity at this time. Have a fixed finish time too, if possible.

Minimise Interruptions

When working from home, the postman may be knocking on the door. The cat might be meowing to be fed. Some things can’t be avoided but others can. It’s good to have clear times that one’s spouse or children are not allowed to interrupt. A locked door might help get the message across to forgetful children!

If such timetables are established, however, it’s important to honour the times where you can be interrupted or be with the family.

Stay Connected

It’s more important than ever to have social and work connections when working from home. At work, there are programmes like Slack that allow one to communicate with colleagues. That’s great when there’s a question to ask or information to pass on. Phone contact is better still as it’s direct human contact. When working from home it’s easy to lose the feeling that you’re part of a team, or that there are people who can help you. This can adversely affect motivation.

If you live near a friend, it might be good to meet them during your lunch break. Loneliness and isolation is a real possibility with this lifestyle, so it’s essential to take active steps.

Working from home is a great experience providing it is managed well. Start and finish at set times, and have regular breaks. Go out at lunchtime or take exercise. Stay in contact with people and make sure snacks and meals are organised. There are pluses and minuses with all working patterns, but there are certainly ways to make it work for you.