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My top tips for working from home - Mike Wilson
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My top tips for working from home

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

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 distinct or designated area
Although it may seem obvious, having a designated workspace will make it easier for you to mentally “travel” to work and leave it behind once you’re finished. Installing office furniture, such as those avialable on office monster, in your designated workspace can help you avoid getting tired or falling asleep while working.

* 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. Do something that helps you relax, but also
helps you work better. Maybe drink some coffee, or like how some coders do,
consider taking the best strains for productivity.
This way, you can relax, as well as complete your task!

* 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!

* Set up your support systems
– When you’re working in an office, you go for tea and coffee breaks, have a snack, and play some games whenever you have free time or you’re waiting on something. These support systems are what help make your days productive, and they could help you when you’re working from home too. So, something simple like buying a coffee maker (you could get one here) or a little recreation zone in your home office could enhance your productivity and help you work longer hours.

* 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… add one }
  • Jaffo 22nd December 2010, 6:28 pm

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


  • Scott Kane 21st July 2011, 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.

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