5 Ways to Succeed at Working from Home
The pandemic of 2020 forced a lot of companies to move their workforce into home offices, but what employers didn’t expect from the move was how much they and their workforce would like the change.
Tech giants like Facebook and Twitter were soon joined by public corporations including Nationwide, Barclays, and food giant, Mondelez, in announcing plans to permanently move their workforce home.
The work at home life certainly comes with perks, but a successful work at home life requires more than just a comfy chair in the spare bedroom. Employees who successfully make the transition from a corporate setting to a home office follow these five rules for work at home success.
5 Ways to Succeed at Working from Home
1. Establish a Work/Life Balance
There have been countless books and articles written on this one topic alone and with good reason. When you work from home, work is always there, beckoning you from the other room. It calls to you like a temptress in the night.
It’s easy to convince yourself that finishing up that project in the middle of the night will actually give you more time with your family and friends, but it’s simply not true. Establishing a good work/life balance is not easily achieved, but it’s easier to start with good habits than to try to break bad ones later on.
Whether it’s a nice office with a door or a seat at the kitchen table with a laptop, designating your “official” office space is also an important rule for work at home success. In my work as a business consultant, I’ve seen every home office you can imagine, including a folding chair and table in a closet.
But even if your “office” is packing and unpacking your laptop each day at the kitchen table, designating a place to “go to work” every day is a great first step in establishing good habits for a work/life balance. When your workday is over, if your office is not in a place where you can close the door and walk away, then put your laptop away in a location that doesn’t make it easily accessible after hours.
3. Go to Work
Telling you to “go to work” might seem like the opposite advice of the point of this article, but when you work from home you have to have a “Go to Work” mentality. Get up, get dressed (even if you aren’t going to be on a Zoom call), and prepare yourself for a workday.
That one small step is a great mental separation from your work life and your home life. It also helps break the monotony that can come from being at home all the time. It may sound fun to skip the shower and work in your pj’s all day, but that gets old real fast.
4. Set Expectations and Establish Boundaries
I have five sons and a husband, a very active golden retriever, and a slew of other people and creatures who are in and out of my house on a regular basis. The majority of my work is done online or on the phone. I produce weekly podcasts and host multiple live social media sessions throughout the week.
Setting expectations and establishing boundaries for what can and cannot happen in our home during a workday is critical. One simple way I have done this is with my office door. If the door is open, come on in! Feel free to interrupt me. If the door is closed, the house better be on fire before you come through my office door.
5. Get Out of Your House
As an introvert, I love being alone. Working from home feeds my soul. But even as an introvert, I have learned that I have to leave my house from time to time. Whether it’s to grab a coffee and work from a different venue, or meet a client for lunch, it’s important for my mental health to leave my house and connect with others.
As you prepare to make the move to a home office or you are embracing your permanent work from home status, these five best practices can set you up for success. As Holly Reissem Hannah, the founder of the Work at Home Woman says, “… even though working from home offers a great amount of flexibility, it is still a professional job and needs to be treated as such.”