Working from home is jam packed with advantages – no traffic in the mornings, flexible hours, better work/life balance, less pressured environment, being able to use your own bathroom… and so on. But changing from a traditional office environment to a home office can be tricky at first. That’s why I’m sharing a few of the mistakes I made when I first started out – so you don’t have to make them too!
1. Becoming Too Flexible
The novelty of working from home is exhilarating in the beginning; you almost feel like you are on vacation. Well, that’s how it was for me at least! I allowed myself to be flexible, I mean really flexible. If I felt like watching a movie in the morning, I would tell myself that it was fine because I could continue work later. Lying on the couch, I would congratulate myself for being so clever.
That is, until I was sitting at my desk at 11pm night after night, with my eyes falling out, trying to complete the entire day’s work. Don’t allow flexible to mean unstructured.
2. Not Having A Set Place To Work
Why is it that when we imagine working from home, we invariably imagine sitting alongside the pool or even the beach, with our laptops on our knees? When I first started working from home, I sometimes didn’t even bother to get out of bed, or I just sat on the couch and worked. This is a classic mistake and the result is that you have no separation between work and home, which you don’t want. Create an alcove or home office and keep your work in that area only.
3. Thinking You Can Do Everything
This one is more for the ladies, but I am sure that there are men out there also suffering from “Superperson Syndrome”. When I began working from home, I thought I could be a housewife and a full time writer. I was wrong. While you do have the flexibility to put in a load of clothes or quickly make beds, remember that there are only so many hours in a day and you need to allocate enough time for your work.
4. Forgetting To Socialize
Okay, here’s a confession – I’m still struggling a little with this one. When you work in an office environment you are able to socialize with people on a daily basis, even if it is just quick chats while having a coffee break. Working from home isolates you, and you must make an effort to go and socialize with your friends. The bonus is that you can choose the people you want to spend time with, unlike at the office.
5. Not Setting Goals
I know, I know, it sounds boring, but failing to set goals can make or break the opportunity to work remotely. When I worked in the corporate environment I had daily, weekly, and monthly targets that I had to reach and be accountable for. When you are working a remote job it can be easy to forget about goals because you don’t always have the same pressure to achieve. Don’t let this happen to you. Research SMART goals, write yours down, and make sure you set aside time to review these weekly.
Working remote is the way of the future – as technology brings us closer together, the need for employees to all be in one building is quickly fading away. To be successful though, you still need to be focused, have a place to work, set goals, and try to maintain a schedule. If you can do this (and you can) then working from home will be all you dreamed of.