Working from home might seem amazing, and most of time it is. But is not for everyone, trust me.
It is super normal that, when you talk to some friends that you didn’t see for a long time or other acquaintance, they ask you about your job or what you do for a living.
And every freakin’ time that I tell somebody that I work from home, the reaction is the same:
“That is awesome, you must love it!”
Or “Oh I wish I could work from home too, how did you get this job?”
Or even “Really? That must be amazing, spend the day in your PJs!”
Probably this is how they imagine my work day:
But the truth is: working from home is not always easy.
And definitely it is not for everyone.
Working from home might seem amazing…
And most of time it is. Not having to waste time on commuting gives me so much extra time and energy to dedicate myself on doing a lot of other stuff like reading, writing, going to the gym off of the rush hours (when people get from their jobs after spending 30 to 60 minutes on the traffic), cooking, studying or even drinking coffee while reading some news.
When it is raining outside, I am really glad I don’t have to face the traffic full of unpolite and nervous people trying to rush into their offices. And when it is sunny, I get to give myself some extra time on lunch hour to take a walk around the block to enjoy the weather.
So yeah, it is pretty amazing.
…But working from home can make you go insane
My office colleague is my cat. And she sleeps most of the day. I spend most of the business hours without saying a word — except for the meetings via call or videoconference, that happen almost every day. But if I only have one meeting, that would be just that one hour of talking for the day. It gets pretty lonely.
If you don’t pay attention to your routine every day, at some point you may realize you didn’t get out of your home for days. Take for example a rainy week: it might seems a bad idea to get out of your house if you don’t really need it. You can skip the gym, work from your living room and ask delivery food for lunch or dinner.
But trust me, after some time it may drive you crazy.
After a while, I came up with some rules and a routine that keeps me motivated, productive and, I hope!, not insane.
Here are my tips:
1. Wake up as early and make your bed
Think about how early you should wake up if you have to commute. If you start working by 9 a.m., thinking about a regular commuting time of 30 minutes, you would need to wake up by 7:30 a.m. to shower, dress, get some breakfast, feed your pet, etc. Also, don’t forget to make your bed: it is not your first step of the day toward productivity but also gives you a nice and neat environment for the day — you probably won’t work from your bedroom, but messy rooms could drain up your energy and productivity.
2. Get dressed for work
Just because you are at home, it doesn’t mean that you should stay in your pajamas all day long. Also, just because you are working it doesn’t mean that you need to dress formally — you don’t need to wear high hills or a tie. My rule is: when working, wear anything that I could go out of home anywhere. So, no sleepwear, flipflops, robes, sweatpants, etc.
3. Have your own dedicated office space — and stick in there
Of course you will consider working from your bed on a lazy day or sit with your laptop on your comfortable couch. But trust me: you should have your dedicated home office space, with a good table, nice chair and ergonomic equipment. It is better for your body and for your mind, too: you will get more productive and will be creating a working environment apart of your fun environment.
4. Stand up whenever you can
When you work in a regular office — those where you should commute to go into — you would probably move and stand up a lot more that when you work from your home office. You would go to meeting rooms, enjoy some coffee with your co-workers in the dinning room and even going to the toilets would need more steps than you take at home. That’s why my suggestion is: stand up whenever you can and take some steps. I’ve built a habit of standing up when having call conferences with the staff, when I’m talking or listening without the need of looking to the screen, so at least I get to move for some hours of the week while working. Remember: people say that sitting is the new smoking.
As mentioned, you will probably move way less if you don’t need to commute everyday or go to a workplace. So it becomes even more important to exercise. Find a gym near you. Don’t like to lift weight? No problem: do Yoga, stat running, get into a dancing class. You have no excuses!
6. Work and forget about your house chores
Oh you saw some dirty clothes in the laundry room or some dishes in the sink that you are dying to clean? Forget it. This is your working time. Instead of pausing everything you are doing to do some house chores, set up a schedule to take advantage of your no need for commuting. Remember that time you saved by waking up early? Use this time for home tasks. Or take some of your lunch time to deal with them. You will also have more free time in the end of the day — you will be already at home when you finish your work.
So, to wrap everything together, if you don’t want to go crazy working alone at home and keep your productivity, consider having a good and healthy routine, exercise, try to move your body and keep your mind focused on your work. If you get to do not go insane, you will find out that working from home is, indeed, fun.