Working from home or working remotely is something that is appealing to many people. With technology such as Skype, FaceTime, Google Docs, Drop Box and more, maintaining and growing a career outside of the traditional office is entirely possible. Working from home may attract parents who want more time with their kids, individuals who despise the idea of getting out of bed before 10 a.m., or business owners who know they can reduce their overhead costs by cutting back on physical office space.
I’m sure we can all come up with some of the pros of working remotely: no long commutes, working in your pajamas, and more flexibility for breaks. Though this may sound like a dream, working from home does not and should not mean total freedom. There are a few major traps and pitfalls that remote business owners, employees, and freelancers can fall into. The two big ones are: not having a designated workspace and not carving out a specific work time.
Not Having a Designated Workspace
You may not have to make the drive to the office in the mornings, but you should still make at least a shuffle to a designated workspace in your home. This could be a separate office, a corner of your bedroom, or a converted closet. Homes are full of distractions: kids, chores, pets, television etc…. Working at your kitchen table while your kids are working on their math homework will most likely result in more interruptions than not.
You may be working remotely, but you are still working. Tamara Rice of Upwork recommends the following when creating a designated workspace, “a room you can control…proper lighting…an organized work area…a functional desk…[, and] a designated work computer.”
Some homes come equipped with offices, but for those of us not as lucky, here a few ideas for where you can create a workspace in your home
- Spare bedroom
- Dining room
You may not be able to find a large space in your home for working remotely, but you want to make sure you at least have a place where you can find what you need, minimize distractions, and put you in the work mindset.
Keep in mind, working remotely does not have to mean from home. If the coffee shop around the corner is more conducive to your productivity-go for it!
Not Carving out a Specific Chunk of Time
Some companies will require remote employees to still be working normal business hours, but for most people, working from home means setting your own schedule. Not an early bird? 11 a.m.-7 p.m. sounds great. Would you rather wake up early and be done early? Perhaps 6 a.m.-2 p.m. works better for you. Does your child have an assembly at school one afternoon? No problem, head out for a few hours and then make up the time later or the next day.
This flexibility sounds great until you realize you aren’t getting done the work that needs to get done because you are too distracted by other things with your home, family, and friends. Trying to squeeze work in between baseball games, laundry, walking the dog, or fun activities such as lunch with friends, will not always work. Not only will you not complete your tasks, but you may also find that not having designated work times means that you are not as focused or productive as you could be in other areas of your life as well.
If you are going to be working remotely, make sure to set aside designated time for work. When this is can depend on when you work best, and it can change and be flexible if need be. However, the time for working needs to be part of your daily schedule, not just squeezed in, otherwise the quality and amount of your work will suffer. Make sure your family and friends know when you will be working to help reduce distractions and interruptions.
Not working enough can be an easy pitfall for remote employees, but the opposite can happen too. It is important to maintain a healthy balance and be done for the day when you are done for the day. When have you have completed your tasks, it’s time to “leave the office” and focus on home, family, friendships etc….
For many people, working remotely is the best option for the individual and for the business, but it is easy to fall into those common pitfalls. Suggestions from others for remote employees include getting dressed each day, taking breaks to help with productivity, eating nd good breakfast and good lunch, and communicate with co-workers or your boss, if applicable, frequently.
If you are one of the lucky ones to be able to work from home, embrace and enjoy it! For more tips about setting up a remote business, or to learn about other ways to reduce costs in your small business, contact Lucid Books!