How to Work From Home: 10 Tips on Making the Transition
In the present day and age, the freedom to work from home is an option that has become more available to everyone. Before computers, working from home was a rarity. Now, with laptops and cell phones, jobs can move locations, whether it is into your home or across the globe.
The freedom to work from home is something most of us have considered. It sounds almost too good to be true, and for some, it may be. Working from home doesn’t have to be such a far-off plan; many more employers are open to the idea. For some, it can be as simple as asking, for others, it may require a career change.
Either way, if it’s something that has piqued your interest, it’s worth looking into. If you’re planning on working from home, this guide is for you.
10 Tips to Guide You on How to Work from Home:
Evaluate Your Current Position
Some positions simply require your presence. Others can easily adjust without your physical attendance. It’s impossible to say which category you fall in, but you can ask yourself a few questions that can help determine your situation. Are you in a consumer-facing role? Does your position require you to be in meetings with clients all day? While you may believe there is no chance your job can adjust at home, you may be surprised by what you can do with a few adjustments.
Ask your boss if anyone in the company has taken that path and if they are open to the idea of you working from home. Be warned, however, most employers are going to want an explanation as to why you’d like to work from your home instead of the office. Either you have a good reason, or risk being turned down.
Transition Into a Freelancer Position
If your company is not able to accommodate your request, you may want to consider becoming a freelancer. This will require you to establish a client base within your profession. If you can do this before quitting your previous job, do so.
Working on evenings and weekends to establish a solid client base will make the transition much smoother when the time comes. You can also look at freelance websites like Upwork, where clients post job offers and freelancers can apply for the position. It’s a good way to establish experience if you are new to the area or don’t have many contacts.
If your current position isn’t fitting for freelance work, consider developing a new set of skills. You may be surprised to find what you already know, many freelance jobs need a good writer, but that doesn’t mean you have to have an English major. It may be as simple as making adjustments to your current skill set to fit the needs of the market.
Work-proof Your Home
One of the most important steps to working from home is making your home into a comfortable working place, office-like environment. Designate a referenced space in your house as your home office. If you have kids running in and out, TV’s, and dogs barking at your heels, it’s going to take quite a bit of time to get any real amount of work done.
If you can dedicate an entire room as an office, do so.
Once you’ve set aside a designated area, use it only for work. You want to be able to easily move into the work-mode mindset when you’re in this part of the house.
Also, designate a place to meet clients. Chances are, you will eventually need to meet with a client in person. A coffee shop meet up may suffice, but if you need something more professional, look for co-working spaces in your town.
Co-working offices are buildings that rent out individual offices and conference rooms to freelancers. If there is too much distraction at home, you can opt for working out of a co-working space every day. If you just need a conference room for a few hours, you can rent out space for that reason too. Most major cities have a few coworking options available. It’s best to determine a spot you like before you need it, to avoid embarrassment with a client in a new space you didn’t check out beforehand.
Invest in Comfortable and Befitting Office Furniture
Good and comfortable sets of office furniture are must-haves for your new home office. You don’t want to have a clumsy-looking working environment. Get the right furniture especially the right chairs, tables, and sofas. Since you will almost be sitting down during your work hours, getting the right chair that provides the right sitting position and well adaptable for your back is a must. Also, the working table must be proportionate to the chair. You need to bend over while operating your laptop or desktop. Get the necessary tools and equipment you may need.
To get your mind tuned to that of an effective workplace, you need to equip yourself with all the necessary technology tools and gadgets necessary. A desktop, laptop, tablet, iPhone, earphones, and other enhancing tools are necessary for a good work startup.
If you have to speak to clients via phone or video message frequently, set up an area that both looks professional and is sound free. You may have to upscale your Wi-Fi if you’re on the computer all day.
Set Your Work Hours
It is more ideal to set working hours for yourself as if you are running a virtual office. To do this, understand that you pen down all your daily routines, list them in order of priority against the due time for each obligation. This will guide you to know when best you should work each day. Set your work hours to meet your needs.
One other thing is that you may need to make your work hours flexible to accommodate some unexpected issues like sickness, kids or spouse urgent needs, unscheduled shopping, etc.
When setting up your work hours, you should understand your best performing and productive periods. Working from home does not only requires setting work hours, but you need to understand the best peak productive periods. This will enable you to understand when you are in your best performance time. This could be in the morning, afternoon, evening or late evening. It is possible to have two peak high performing periods in a day, for instance, morning hours and late evening hours.
Don’t Neglect Your Health
Working from home can surreptitiously eat up your eating habits especially when you are working on time-based tasks. Many people working from home may begin to eat a late breakfast or forget to eat lunch. If this irregular eating habit persists, it may adversely affect your health. Sometimes, having snacks around your working table or at an easy-to-reach place may be very helpful.
It is also important that you take short breaks. No matter what, always take short breaks within your work hours. Sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time may be harmful. Create adequate time for short breaks to walk around, sit-off your work-table, take a short nap or just lay on a couch. This is a way to relax your body and brain. You can set your short break for 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes depending on what suits your working patterns.
Avoid Unnecessary Distractions Through Social Media Activities
Nothing can be more annoying than keeping your social media apps alerts on while working. You may be drawn away from your work each time a social media alert pops-on. If you are not careful, your attention can be drawn away from your task to the social media junks. You will be amazed to realize how much time has been sucked from your work hours when you keep your social apps on.
If you must be connected to your social media apps, keep that to your short breaks or to the end of your work hours. Some people working from home get consumed by their untamed passion for social media which makes them slip off their schedules. In the end, they have no option than to break their work-hours’ rules. The same uncontrolled passion will usually lead to low productivity and low job qualities.
Keep Track of Your Expenses
If you’re eager to work from home and are not working with a full-time employer, you’ll need to adjust your expenses. First, you’ll need to establish a DBA or LLC for your business. Next, open a separate business account. As soon as you make the switch, start tracking your expenses. There are multiple apps that streamline the process for you, but regardless of the method you use to track them, just make sure you are keeping track.
Freelancers have to submit taxes 4 times a year, not annually, and having work-related expenses recorded can significantly decrease the amount owed. You can even write off your home office space if it’s only used for work (no kid’s rooms). Do you research on taxes, establishing an LLC or DBA, or risk receiving a hefty fine from the IRS?
It’s easy to want to go run errands, hit up the gym, and go for a walk when your schedule is largely in your own hands. A break or two here and there is okay, but don’t get in the habit of letting your weekends run into your weeks.
Work from home requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline, and failure to meet your obligations can end your new lifestyle quicker than you’d imagine. Try and create a schedule you can stick to. If you go to the gym every day at 10 AM, that’s fine, but don’t make a habit of going whenever you’re bored. Prove to yourself that you can be your own boss, and it will pay off. With a little discipline; it will become your second nature.
Don’t handle your work from home casually. One of the limiting factors to working from home success is by treating your new endeavor casually. The more seriousness and importance you ascribed into it, the higher the level of your success. Starting your morning tasks in pajamas, casual wear, bedroom slippers which you cannot usually go to your official office is an indication that you are holding your new home office casually. This attitude will only generate casual results. The best ethic is waking up with a mentality of going to an official office; wake at the right time, take your bath and dress up officially with the right apparels. All these will enhance your daily performance and productivity.
Separate Pleasure and Work
In as much as work-from-home gives you total freedom from bossy bosses, it does not give you freedom for levity. You need to give deserving attention to your family; spouse and the kids. Right! But let every member of your family understand the rule of “DO NOT DISTURB”, “KNOCK AND WAIT FOR AN ANSWER BEFORE COMING IN” and “FREE TO COME IN”.
Placing the light indicator at your office door helps to checkmate undue disturbances while working.
The red light on the indicator signifies “DO NOT DISTURBS”, a yellow light indicates “KNOCK AND WAIT FOR AN ANSWER BEFORE COMING IN” and the blue light announces “FREE TO COME IN”. Once everyone in your household knows and abides by this rule, you can perfectly remain focused and creative.
Rather than unnecessary distractions, you can Jax-up your activities. Soft, cool, and low music genres of your choice will drive away boredom, enhance creativity, and increase productivity. The good news of this is that you may turn-on or turn-off the music at intervals when you feel slightly distracted.
Transitioning to working from home should not be hard. All said and done, it is not just an alternative way to make money, but it is really a means of setting yourself free from bosses that heave instructions upon instructions on you. It also gives you adequate time to give attention to your family members – (your spouse and children).
Freedom to plan your days and execute your daily plans without interference from dogmatic office routines make the working from home adventure more enticing to people these days. Your earnings are only equated to the amount of time and energy you plow into your tasks; it just a matter of “earn as you work“. The “how to work from home tips” above will surely help things get started for you. Remember that nothing is more comforting as being your own boss, and earn what you actually deserved for your effort.