My top tips for working from home

by Mike on December 22, 2010

Pyjamas and Trisha, ITV and feet up on the couch; these are the things
that people usually think of when I tell them that I’m working from
home.

The truth is that I work naked, while listening to the beach boys. Only joking.

When one commutes to an office daily (I’ve done and sometimes do this
as both a salaried worker and now as a contractor) there is usually a
very small window of potential to get things done. Many people get up
in the morning, get ready and travel (sometimes for hours) to attend
an expensive building where everyone else has done the same thing so
that work happens.

In any creative work (design, technology, software development) one
needs large periods of interrupted time in order to be productive. In
an office we work from moment to moment interspersed with calls,
manager meetings and colleague distractions. Imagine a world where we
can commit more time to getting things done and less time to the
appearance of work in an office.

This is where working remotely comes in. If only it were that simple
as working from home has it’s own problems.

My top tips for being productive in your home office;

* Work in a separate or dedicated space
This might seem obvious, but a dedicated working space will help you
to psychologically “travel” to work and to leave it behind you when
you’re done.

* Set work times and stick to them
– The trouble with working from home is that the temptation to
procrastinate if given into can lead to losing severe amounts of
productivity, especially if there’s that household task that needs
doing is waiting for you. Ensure that by setting aside “chunks” of
working time that you focus only on the task in hand and not on other,
less important issues.

* Reward yourself
– We work for rewards, but as Homer Simpson says, “Hard work pays off
later, laziness pays off now”. Keep your web browsing, movie watching,
game playing for breaks after you’ve finished that specification,
coding task or client meeting.

* Communicate with your customers
– If you’re in business this should be obvious. If you’re not, try
getting into the habit of emailing a small paragraph to your line
manager (or yourself) at the end of each day. It will help keep you on
your toes!

* Ensure family/friends respect your work time
– This one is hard. After all, if you’re at home you can do the
dishes, right? And the bins? And the Childcare?

There’s no easy answer to this one, except my advice would be to share
the work you’re doing with your support network – your friends and
family and if you can reward your family with a treat now and again –
they probably have to put up with you too!

Do you have any tips to share or links to freelancer tips somewhere
else? Please drop a link in the comments below and I’ll add them after
I’ve tidied this post up 🙂

(Blogged from iPhone4)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaffo December 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm

“Blogged from iPhone 4″… Who do you think you are, Peter Cochrane?!?

😉

Reply

Scott Kane July 21, 2011 at 11:14 am

I tend to find working from home as troublesome as working from an office. It’s a fleshware error. Humans + Code = Not Really Working to most people.

Reply

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