10 rules for working from home

Private Property South Africa
Cath Jenkin

Flexible working conditions are becoming more of the norm. Here’s how to make sure your work-from-home experience is top notch.

Pick the right space
Choosing the right space for your home office is vital. Make sure your home office is situated in the quieter end of your house. And, no, working at the dining room table won’t do as a permanent solution.

Shut out the disturbances
Many people may assume you’re spending your time lolling about at home, and presume they can just “pop in for tea.” Let your friends and family know that they must make an appointment to see you, just as they would have to if you worked in a typical office.

Close the door
The noise of people, children, pets, and neighbours, could distract you from getting through your task list each day. Make sure to close the door and keep noise away from you, while you work. If you’re migrating from office life to work-from-home life, it may take a while to adjust. Decreasing the amount of noise you’re subjected to, every day, can help.

Choose the right chair
You’re going to spend a lot of time at your desk, so choosing the right chair is essential. Buy the most ergonomic and comfortable chair you can afford, and ensure it provides you with the right type of support.

Solve the storage
You might fool yourself that a little desk and an open shelf will suit you just fine, but your home office storage needs will end up being bigger than you expect. Install shelves, re-organise cupboards, and find useful storage solutions that work for your career and home office.

Stick to a schedule
Adhering to a regular routine will make you more productive, and less likely to waste precious working hours. Of course, working from home does provide you with the benefit of being able to pick your own schedule, but sticking to a regular one is important. This will also help your family to adjust to you being at home all the time, but be sure to delineate your working and your ‘home’ hours.

Take regular breaks
If you were in the office, you’d take a lunch hour. Do the same when you work from home, and schedule in regular breaks. The bonus, of course, is that you can enjoy a quiet lunch at home, or use your lunch hour to swim a few laps in the pool.

Take time off
Time might be money, but rest and relaxation are also just as much a necessity for your life. Block days out to take as “leave” and shut down your office for the traditional holiday periods. Don’t succumb to the temptation of ‘just doing a few emails’ during your time off.

Leave the house
You need to keep working, but a solid case of cabin fever has set in. Pick up your laptop, and head over to your nearest coworking space. Co-working spaces are the perfect spots to enjoy a good coffee, get things done, and meet new people. As more and more people adapt to flexi-time schedules or embark on freelance careers, the demand for coworking spaces is growing. You never know who you might be working next to today - it could be your next business partner.

Enjoy the experience
You chose to work from home for a good reason. Perhaps you wanted to be closer to your children during the day, or you started a small business that serves your needs. Or, your home office might represent just the start of your big business dream. No matter your reasons for choosing to work from home, enjoy the experience. Take time to remember why you chose to in the first place, and you’ll soon find it easier to adjust to your work-from-home life.

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