“Everyone should work from home if they can.”
The fateful words from the Prime Minister on Monday which has changed the way everyone seems to be working. Some were overjoyed at the idea of getting out the office, others were fearful of how they could complete their job. But there was one group of people fully prepared for the challenge… freelancers!
For years, we’ve been mocked about our “working from home” lifestyle, but now is our time to shine, or so it feels that way. Questions are flying in from all over the place.
How do you remain productive at home?
Is there any equipment we need?
How do you structure your day?
Now I’m no expert on this topic but, like many other freelancers, I do have experience of working from home for extended periods so here are my top tips.
Appreciating the differences.
The first thing to do is to accept that working at home is NOTHING like working in an office. Some people preach about adding routine and structure (both of which are important) but there’s something different about working from home no matter how much you try to replicate the office.
Getting out the “office”.
When you’re at work, you already have a change a scenery going from home to the office. But when the office becomes home, the same four walls keep you penned in for the whole day. If you’re able to, make time for lunch and get outside (or at least into another room).
Plan out the day.
Just like at work, there are distractions at home, but they come in different guises. The TV, fridge, laundry basket, books, kids, neighbours… you name it, it’s sent to test you! If you try and plan out your day at the start, then there’s an element of accountability which will help keep you focused.
Speak to people.
The worst thing about working from home (especially if you live alone) is not speaking to other human beings. You miss the water-cooler chat and bumping into people in reception. So make sure to get on the phone to someone at least once a day. Even if it’s a call with a client, there’ll still be a bit of small talk keeping you sane.
This old chestnut! If you thought it was hard to find a balance working in an office, wait until home-office life kicks in. The lines become blurred and the mental separation reduced. If you can, keep your “office” in a separate area to your living space and make sure to stop working at a normal time and carry out your usual evening routine.
This is going to be tough. Us freelancers never claimed that avoiding Netflix all day was an easy task. Many of us have failed before and many of you will fail going forwards. But, if you try your best, embrace the challenge and follow these tips, you stand a better chance of keeping your boss happy.
To everyone reading this, I believe in you!