Concentration is key
Anyone setting up a home office with the intention of looking after the kids or pets while working is destined to fail. A firm's offices can be hectic places, but the hustle and bustle is work related (usually!). Procrastination can be a real danger to people working from home. It is important to remain focused and keep concentration throughout the day.
- Take a break - Just like any job, it is important to take a break for lunch, as this will help keep productivity levels high in the afternoon.
- Set up some ground rules - If you are working in a shared space such as a kitchen or living room, try to come to an agreement with others that they will give you space while you are at work and avoid distracting you unnecessarily.
- Listen to the music - Some people find it easier to work with background music. Choose something that won't distract you. Ambient and classical music will likely work better than heavy rock music, but remember to turn it off if you are taking a phone call!
- Stay on track - Act as you would if you were under supervision in a regular office. Don't take overly long coffee breaks or spend hours browsing the internet because you think you can get away with it. Chances are you'll be left rushing your work during the rest of the day.
- Remember you are at work - Arrange for someone else to look after the children during your office hours. Make use of a babysitter or family and friends if necessary. If your children will be in the house with you, explain to them that they must not disturb you while you're at work, unless it is important. It will be almost impossible to juggle work and the kids without neglecting one or the other.
Make sure home working is right for you
At the end of the day, home working requires a strong will and large amounts of discipline. Although most people like the idea of avoiding arduous journeys and annoying colleagues, working from home can also leave you feeling isolated if you do not see many people in your personal time. Despite the allure of not having to work in an office from 9am to 5pm, home working will not suit everyone.
It is important to consider your home office as part of a business like any regular office. Although working from home is a lifestyle decision, it is also a business one. Consider if it is the best option for you and if it will actually help you to create a more balanced work/life divide. While some may find they do less work at home, others may find it hard to put down their papers at the end of the day.
If you have the self-discipline to make it work and are happy enough in your own company throughout the day then the positives of working from home far outweigh the negatives. There is nothing better than using your lunch time to potter in the garden on a sunny day, or discover a good book in the comfort of your own living room.