5. Aug, 2022

Working £rom Home

Deciding to set up shop from your home sounds idyllic. But, working from home is not as easy as it sounds.

To successfully work from home, you need personal discipline, to be well organised and highly motivated. You also need the right equipment and a conducive working environment.

Frequently Asked Questions with Answers

Oh, you “work” from home! - Yes, I really do ‘work’ from home. I cook dinner and take care of the laundry. I also work dedicated hours to develop concepts, find solutions, coordinate meetings, take care of administrative requirements, close deals, network with associates, and so on.

Do you have a lot of time for family? - Because I don’t have to commute, I carry out chores in what would have been my traveling time including running the kids to school.

So, you can organise your time much more freely? - Yes, whilst respecting the demands of my clients and associates, I plan my chores around my work.

What’s it like to work in pyjamas? - Whilst some remote workers prefer casual clothes, I follow a similar routine to attending my former office. Though I can dress more casually, I find that I work more efficiently when I dress with a professional mindset.

So no lounging in the garden? - On sunny days I sometimes do work from the garden. I allow myself that luxury when certain tasks permit. Since my home office is professionally equipped I most often work from a desk or even stand up at the kitchen counter as it’s better for circulation. Or, I may take my laptop to a quiet Internet cafe.

Does a home office come across as a bit unprofessional to your clients? - It’s never been an issue. My home office benefits my closest clients as there are no interruptions. My sitting room is very comfortable.  Certain new clients can be met for the first time at a local hotel. Moreover, I am well organised. I use text and email messages when I don’t want to be disturbed. Access to documents is standardised via dropbox through any WiFi. The benefits my clients enjoy are as good or better than coming to any office building.

Setting Up A Home Office

Regardless of whether you work primarily from home or for just a few days each month, your home office must be professional to achieve the best results and keep you motivated.

Before you start to set up your home office, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Do I have a definite idea of what kind of obstacles I may encounter and how I will deal with them?
  2. Can I remain organised, disciplined, focused, and motivated?
  3. Can I perform tasks effectively whilst removed from the office grapevine and politics?
  4. Do I feel comfortable communicating by phone, email, and the cloud?
  5. Can I perform important tasks independently of others?
  6. Do I accept the specific daily goals I need to meet?
  7. Do I have an appropriate workspace and proper equipment?
  8. Do I have the support and acceptance of my family - or roommates?

Typical Challenges When Working from Home

“Ah, you’re home. I’ll just drop in for a second.” Sometimes it’s hard to separate private and professional lives from distractions that come in many forms when family, friends, and neighbours, in all innocence, take advantage of your situation.

One of the first things you’ll need to learn to do when working from home is to politely but firmly say, “No”:

  1. Make it clear to your friends and acquaintances that you earn your livelihood from home.
  2. Establish a closed-door policy with your family when you’re not to be disturbed.
  3. Don’t be afraid to put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on your office door or, even on the front door.

Getting Organised

A productive atmosphere is critical to achieving desired results. It is essential to set trading hours and to set-aside appointments with yourself to reflect on where you are right now, and where you are going.

No Time Management!

No mortal can manage time! Task management, however, is essential when working from home. The fact that your domestic space is just a few steps away increases the risk of you becoming distracted ~ which may end up losing an hour or two.

The trick is to diarise no more than six business-related tasks each day and focus on completing them in order of importance. Most software packages have an e-diary. Use it to forward plan each task, deleting them when completed or re-diarise them to-do or to follow-up. At the end of your working day check your diary, and sleep contented.

Communication

A major benefit of the conventional office is face2face conversations. In contrast, working from home can feel a bit isolated. You need to find ways to have professional exchanges. A variety of digital tools provide valuable support:

  1. Good old emails work well for non-time-critical and routine daily communication.
  2. Text messaging allows for spontaneous exchanges and status messages.
  3. Phone conversations and personal meetings are still best if you have urgent, critical, or personal issues to address.
  4. Web conferences are perfect for online meetings with several people not located together, delivering presentations, brainstorming, or collaborative work.
  5. Cloud-based Work platforms are useful to coordinate projects and for gathering information and ideas.
  6. Social networks ~ internal or on the Internet ~ are effective for professional exchange and maintaining contact allowing you to attract specific, relevant responses.
  7. Blogs and microblogging services allow people to forward information without a flood of emails.

Online Meetings

When many people think of online meetings they think of messenger programs however, professional tools for business use are capable of much more. ZOOM users, for instance, can host group video conferences in HD quality ~ all they need is a high-resolution webcam.

Other great features are screen sharing of mouse and keyboard. This allows teams to work effectively on the same document in real-time.

People also host a PowerPoint presentation inviting clients and associates to view through their own screens. An online meeting tool helps home-based workers to reduce costs by eliminating unproductive travel time and reduce time-consuming email exchanges.

With video conferences, all issues and open questions can be clarified immediately. Small group training sessions are also easily done. Communication via VoIP helps to reduce phone costs. 

NOTEThe digital world knows neither nuances nor body language and is not restricted by border or required visas. Collaboration with digital tools works more smoothly when you have already met the people you’re dealing with. That’s why it is so important to get to know your associates and clients.

Great Tools for Great Work

Factors for a really efficient and ergonomic home office:

  1. Do not skimp on your chair. It should be comfortable and have dynamic seating with an adjustable backrest.
  2. Do not think that you have to sit at a desk all day long. Research into blood circulation strongly indicates that a standing desk is more beneficial than a sitting desk. Highly practical is a table that allows you to work both seated and standing.
  3. Place furniture so that you have enough space preferably near a window that lets in natural daylight. Do not store containers under the desk. Give yourself room to move.
  4. Banish the printer to another room.
  5. Create a pleasant atmosphere with plants and colours that contribute to your emotional well-being.
  6. Separate work area and living space, both spatially and acoustically. This way you minimise disruption, increase concentration and shorten your working day.
  7. Make sure you have a non-glare computer screen placed in front of you at chest level
  8. The keyboard and the mouse as well should be designed to let you rest your palms and elbows while working.

Unlike many company offices, you design your home office according to your preferences.

If you want to compare notes on working more effectively from home, email john@uetp.co.uk

Complicated IS Easy! Simple IS Hard!