Bless technology for making stuff so much better in our life. Once upon a time work meant heading out, facing the heat and the rush, making it to office with a sigh at your fate, settling down, missing your family, working endlessly (because time was running through honey at office) and finally facing the same battle to reach back home.
Phew! And that was for everyday. Now, you have the choice of the millennium. You can work from the comfort of your home. And that is not just for work-from-home office goers, but for the rising businessmen too. There are more than a few profits to this alternative. The overhead cost is low, no renting space or money therein, no people to make small talk (just so that they get your work done), or cursing your office coffee machine. You save tons of money, time and energy.
Yes! You save ALL of the above. And then there is the freedom from all the chores during the travelling, settling in the office, and establishing different setups in your workplace. Everything is tiresome, cumbersome and yet avoidable. At home your life and business both are under the same roof. You have the privilege of being in bed with your laptop, or eating while talking. It’s simple and yet ingenious.
Working at home is like the ultimate dream fantasy. Visions of working in pajamas, spending more time with family, scheduling your own time- what could be better? Unfortunately it is not that easy as it might seem. There is a thin line between working and appearing to be working, and if it gets blurred, your life is in for turmoil. You will end up losing focus of your work and frustrations might ruin your personal life too.
Here are a few tips to neutralize the problems and to make sure you stay at the top of your game even when you’re not in an office.
1. Is Work From Home Your Cup Of Tea?
As an entrepreneur you don’t have the privilege to ditch your work on account of a false headache. It is your work and you alone have to do it (and your team too but they work when you tell them what to do). You have to keep yourself self-motivated. But that is not so easy for everyone. Do you feel crippled when you cannot make professional interaction? Is it difficult for you to work when you have nobody to remind you of your work load? Is it impossible to function without people and deadlines? With traits like that, you will have to ditch the idea of working at home. You will end up messing everything if you don’t acknowledge your personality and do what is right for you. You know yourself best, so do the hard self-evaluation before you commit to the idea of a home office.
2. Create The Right Atmosphere
The brain has the tendency to associate its actions with the world surrounding it. You are more likely to talk in normal hindi (minus the accent) when at a bus stop even when you are talking to someone who understands English well enough. It’s just something that happens without our realizing it. You suddenly get all serious and get touched up when shopping at an air conditioned mall as compared to shopping at the market right at the back of your house.
Create a small desk for establishing your workstation. Shifting in with your kitchen or bedroom is just inefficient. You want to be in a room where you are away from distractions of any kind. Basically you should be alone and the room must be closed. Don’t imagine it as a stuffy storeroom, instead look at it as an office like cabin where it’s just you, with your thoughts and contemplation.
Have the right equipment for your job too- table, pens, folders, computer, monitor, printer, high-speed internet, etc. Make sure you have good lighting as well to make you feel like you need to work.
3. Feel The Feel, Get In The Mood
When you do not have office to report to and a team to appear to, suddenly everything in your daily routine changes. The alarm clock goes off at 10 instead of 8. You don’t bother washing your face or suiting up. Breakfast means a black coffee with a toast just so that you wake up. And the dress code is always pajamas. Basically it’s like a Sunday-every day when you decide to opt for work-at-home. Don’t let that scenario happen to you.
If you really want this to work out, you have to stop undermining the process. Stop procrastinating and treat the home as your new office. Get up at the normal hour, have breakfast, get dressed, make your coffee and hurry to your “home office”. Stay off Facebook, WhatsApp and other personal “distractions” except during lunch. End the day like you would on a normal work day and go off to do what you normally would have done once the work is done. Just because it is home does not imply you have to be plugged in all the time. You work, hence, you have the right to enjoy. Do that, award yourself for working.
4. Draw The Boundaries
You are at home. And just when you are about to sit down to start your work, your son asks you to drop him to school since he is running late (and you are available with the car). Well, 5 minutes won’t affect your work so maybe you should go drop him off. It would not be very fatherly to say no right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong.
You are making the biggest error possible by confusing work with home-work. This is because home work here implies to the errands you have to run at home that can’t ever touch you at work. It is not demeaning or anything. Just not right. You have to be strong enough and manage your time to overcome this problem. After trying to stay motivated (and social networking sites) this is the greatest issue you can ever face when working at home.
Clarify to everyone who interacts with you at home that you are not available during some particular work hours for any sort of work, however urgent it might be.
So, you will have to let your son get late the next time he begs you to drop him to school. Tell him a strict no and remind him of the rules you have set for your work hours. If you are punctual and absolutely iron-willed in your time tables no one can really bother you working at home (unless it’s your mother-in-law. She can make calamities happen if you go all no-can’t-do-got-work-to-do. Take a day off if she drops by. Safety first, people.
5. Don’t Forget Your Social Life
With almost nil interaction at the work place (since that is home now) you cut down a majority of the people you could talk to. Now taking into account that you are not a robot and you need to talk, it is suggested to get smart. Meet your customers over coffee or sign a deal during lunch. If you don’t do this frustrations are sure to creep up soon enough.
Not only the buyers but reach out to a focused success group of people who are like you. They can be working in the same business as yourself or could be associated with home ventures. Meet up with such people. You may even call them up when in doubt since their work is quite similar to yours. This really helps to minimize isolation and gives you someone to call when you need a friendly ear.
You may even spend some quality alone time. It is a refresh button to creativity and keeps you joyous all the time. Take a day off every week. And then pamper yourself. It could be hanging out at a good restaurant or just a leisure stroll in the park. These kinds of activities help us in re-energizing and making you stress free.