With the connectivity capabilities we have available to us today, you may find yourself in the situation of being able to work from home. This can be fantastic for spending more time with your family, but it can also be a pretty hard discipline to master.
The most important thing to do if you are working from home is to set aside some space dedicated purely for that. You may not be able to have an office space which could leave you working from the kitchen table or in your living room. During school time that won’t be too much of an issue, but when the children are on holidays you might find distractions a little too hard to bear. If this is the case then you need to set some very clear ground rules. Firstly you decide where the best place to work is. The kitchen may be a little too busy as children tend to graze and, worse still, make a mess. Consider setting up space in your front room and telling the family that during working hours this room is out of action. They have the whole rest of the house to play with and they also have their own bedrooms. Perhaps compromise in the holidays and allow the children to have a TV in their room. Or move the TV into the kitchen / dining room.
If you have a little more space in your house then you can create yourself a private working area. A spare room makes an excellent option, especially if you swap your conventional bed set up for a sofa bed. This means you have the option of inviting clients or colleagues into your home for meetings which can save you extra trips to the office. A garage is a great space to convert into a home office too. Putting up dividing walls and an integrated desk will mean you actually leave the house to go and work. This is a great way of finding a little peace and quiet. It also means you can close the door when work is over and you feel like you have left it behind. One of the drawbacks of working in your own house is that you often feel work is hanging over your head, even when you are trying to relax.
A really nice way of creating office space is to install a cabin in your garden. You could consider a shepherds hut or even a summer house. Some garden office designs have been amazing like this old shipping container which was repurposed as a family office. You may find that you need a little extra boost for your internet though. Get online and study some wifi extender reviews until you find something that will work with your space. There are some excellent products on the market which will help your connection to stay strong without compromising on speed.
The next thing to consider is the feel of your space. Human beings respond differently to colours and certain colours, such as red are known for their energising power. This can be great in the office to help encourage you into work. Yellow is a colour we associate with the spring and joy, however it can cause conflict which isn’t something that you want to feel when you are working on deadlines. It is sensible to choose a neutral colour, such as white, beige or grey. You can then add hints of colour to help get you going.
Whilst some of us are a little messy, the best space to make money is a clear and logical one. Something which is laid out so that you can reach important documents with ease. It is worth taking two hard and two soft copies of everything you have in the office. So you can leave one there and have the rest on hand at home. This means you can always put your hands on important contracts or designs should you need them. With that in mind you are going to need plenty of organised storage. Swedish giant, IKEA offers some great storage solutions for your office regardless of size and are great for you to incorporate into your home. There are even some clever hidden storage spaces which can be placed under your stairs or behind panels in walls. Meaning you can hide away your work when you are trying to enjoy family life, but know it is there when you need to get your hands on something.
Finally. The rules. We aren’t talking about the rules for your family, we are talking rules for you. So listen up.
Even though you are at home, this doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to slowly become more relaxed at the start of your day. Yes, enjoy breakfast with the children and make the time to drop them at school, but make sure you get dressed in something a little more respectable than your joggers. It sounds silly, but one of the hardest things for freelance home workers to get straight is routine. This is because you can fool yourself into believing you will work better if you are relaxed. Whilst it’s important to keep yourself calm and feel happy in your working day and for your mind to be relaxed, you don’t want to take it to a level where you chill out too much. So don’t treat the working day like a Sunday.
Take plenty of breaks to keep you motivated but don’t procrastinate for hours. It is hard to be disciplined with your time and you will be looking for lots of excuses to do anything other than the task in hand. Stay focussed. Ignore the jobs that need doing on the weekend and train yourself to forget you are in the comfort of your own home. This is work. This is your office. Treat it that way.
The balance of work and family life will be massively improved if you get the basics right. So make the most of the opportunity and make it work for all of you.