Like many other people in the digital economy, I work remotely. I’m based in the UK and work for organizations around the globe. My work life is divided between my home office in the north of England, a hot desk in London, and wherever my travels take me when I’m out on the road speaking about email, social media and content marketing to small and medium-sized businesses.
I’ve worked from hotel lobbies, cafes and airport lounges. In fact, my office is anywhere with a decent Wi-Fi connection and a little peace and quiet.
Working from “home” is not for everyone, and it’s certainly not an easy option. It takes discipline and determination to make it work. As a remote worker, you have to put the hours in, and sometimes the lines separating your work and home life become blurred. This is especially true when you work across time zones.
Over the years, I’ve developed a number of strategies to ensure working from home works for me and my bosses.
10 Survival Tips for Home Workers
- Find Your Own Space: Working from the kitchen table is fine until your children want to do their homework or a family member wants to start cooking. It’s important that you find your own space where you can close the door and not worry about interruptions as you go about your daily work.
- Keep Office Hours: Even if you’ve never been very good at working the traditional 9-to-5 day, it’s important that you focus your working hours on actually doing work. Household chores, online distractions and Pokémon hunts should definitely not become a part of your working routine. Yes, you can build a working day around other activities, such as the school run, but when you sit down at your computer, remind yourself and your family that it’s work time.
- Take a Break: It’s important to take a break during your working day. Take the opportunity to stretch your legs, grab a coffee or get something to eat. Taking short breaks throughout the day will help you recharge your batteries and become more productive in the long run.
- Exercise: Although I work from home, I often commute to the office. While this might sound crazy, a short bike ride or walk before my working day helps me shake the cobwebs from my brain and focus on the day’s work ahead. I have some of my best ideas when I’m out on my bike in the morning.
- Get Out More: It’s very easy to become isolated when working from home. Therefore, it is vitally important that you make the effort to get out and meet people. This could be via work-related events like networking evenings or business breakfasts, or perhaps more social events based around friends, family, clubs and other organizations.
- Pick Up the Phone: Take the opportunity to speak to people whenever you can. Email is great for managing or delivering projects, but nothing beats a little human engagement when maintaining relationships.
- Plan Your Day: A to-do list will help you prioritize items and make sure things get done. It’s amazing how a simple list of activities can help you work through a number of tasks and keep procrastination at bay.
- Reward Yourself: Set goals and reward yourself when you meet them. Your reward could be something simple like an outing to your local coffee shop once you have ticked a set number of items off your to-do list.
- Do a Digital Detox: Don’t be a slave to your email inbox or social media feed. If you’re easily distracted, turn off your Internet access for a couple of hours per day to enable you to focus.
- Turn Off: Once your working day is over, turn your computer off and walk away from it. I don’t use my work laptop during leisure time, and I try to check myself when I feel the urge to check work-related emails out of office hours.
Do you work from home? How do you ensure you stay productive while maintaining a positive work/life balance? Share your comments below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.