The phrase “work from home” seems an oxymoron to some, but the practice is the wave of the future. For a variety of reasons, companies are becoming more amenable to non-traditional work arrangements. When done properly, it's a solid play for everyone involved. The most important thing to remember when embarking on such an arrangement, though, is that first word: WORK!
It’s tempting to visualize working from home as chilling in your pajamas all day, but the arrangement won’t last long if that’s your approach. Instead, you need to always put the work first once you clock in. The best way to do this is to develop a daily ritual, and stick to it. The same way a traditional office worker screws his or her mind on for a day with podcasts on the train or a coffee run on the way in, so it is with professionals working from home.
For starters, take a shower before beginning your work day. Cleaning up and changing clothes puts anyone in a new frame of mind. Maybe even designate certain clothes as work clothes (and not your pajamas!): it’d be ridiculous to wear a suit when working from home, but wearing something worn only when doing work changes your mindset and makes you more prepared to tackle the day.
Next, make a pot of coffee or tea or a double-shot of espresso, and sip it while checking out your favorite news sites, reading a book, listening to a podcast, or watching your local news. Finding something other than work to focus on for a while before you begin clears your mind for the day. Also, consider designating a light on your desk or in your office as your “work light,” something you turn on when your work day begins and off when it ends. Everything boils down to training your mind and body to feel the same way about a home-based work day that it would an office-based one.
Working from home is a great way to do business, particularly if you work in tech or content marketing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Just make sure you do your work, and do it well, and you’ll be fine. A new daily ritual can help you out with that.
Here are a few more tips to help get more out of working from home:
- Seriously, change out of your pajamas: you won’t get anything done otherwise
- Designate a space in your home as "your office," even just a corner of the basement or converted walk-in closet, and work there
- Stretch or go for a brief walk every once in a while (don’t forget to clock out!)
- Keep in touch with friends, family, and co-workers, and work out of the office from time to time
- Map out tasks before beginning so you can easily see what needs doing
- Plants, succulents, and flowers cheer up your work space