Is working from home the holy grail of modern working life?
Do we all long for the flexibility to choose when we work and then also where we work?
Ideally if possible without having to do the commute to the office every day or even face public transport?
4.2 Million people in the UK (13.9%) now work from home as part of their normal working week, and that number is rising.
How can you make sure working from home is even more productive than working in the office?
Here are my top 10 bad habits you should avoid when working from home, and I’m sure we are all guilty of them at one time.
// Housework is a no-no
As tempting as it is, especially if you are a busy mother already, don’t allow yourself to tackle that mountain of housework in between answer emails and doing your work.
It will only distract you as another responsibility to worry about when you should be focused on your day job.
If you were in the office, you would just need to find another time to do it outside of work – so don’t confuse being in the house with being available for anything the house may need to keep it functioning too.
Treat the time you are working from home similar to office time – concentrate on the task at hand and fit other activities round it when you can during lunch breaks or after hours.
// Not Setting work goals
Especially important if you are running your own business from home, you need to start the day with a plan so you are slowly working towards your end goal for your business or your contribution.
By not setting any goals for your work, and working on your own at home, you are more likely to procrastinate and not know what to do next.
Take that risk away from yourself and start each new week and day, if you can, with a plan in place for what you want to achieve.
Even better if you have a boss, look to report back regularly on our progress towards your goal to show your productivity and hard work free from office distractions.
Setting goals for any part of your life doesn’t need to be stressful, and here I show you how you can make goals achievable in your life for any area.
// Not Exercising during your day
Working from home often means the lines between what is work and what is play are blurry, and often our work is more sedentary if we are able to work from home.
Like any office work, it’s important to take regular breaks to move about and even better exercise properly, even just a 15 minute walk at lunchtime, to invigorate your mind and keep you alert.
It will also give you a great way to interact with the world still, and meet people out enjoy the fresh air too.
// Not managing food, drinks and snacks
Temptation to not work is even stronger at home if you don’t have clear structure in place – but this can be especially true when the food and drink is free around you.
Think Google surroundings but you are paying for the employees to be well fed instead.
Very easily the line between breakfast, brunch and lunch seem to become fussy with temptation right next to you in the kitchen – so try to limit yourself to only visit the kitchen or snack cupboard if you are truly hungry and not just bored.
Far easily to be tempted in the moments of stress during our busy working days, so try to watch especially for any triggers that might mess up your healthy eating habits.
// Staying in your PJs all day
The prospect of working in your night clothes or your comfiest clothes is appealing to everybody, especially if you are a busy parent just dropping off the kids to childcare at the start of an early day.
But we know there is a real psychological benefit to dressing for your job even when you’re at home.
By dressing in our normal clothes, or still fit for public appearances, helps our brain to know that it is “work mode” and not relaxing or casual attitude mode.
It will also help you feel at your best, even though people might not see you – although now Skype for Business and Video conferencing is more popular, you might need to take your day wear more seriously not to be caught off guard on the next team call.
// Working all hours of the day
Set hours and stick to them, and this is especially true when working from home.
When you have the freedom to work whenever you want, and connect however you want, the time restrictions and urge to “check one more time” are usually much stronger.
People might also assume you are available all hours of the day, but keep the balance between work and home but setting clear boundaries on your attention.
Try not check work whilst you are enjoying family or home time, and also don’t let it become part of your weekend routine.
// Don’t multitask
We all know multitasking does not work, and that goes for busy mothers who are used to wearing many hats successfully too.
Your brain cannot switch between task to task and not end up becoming confused or distracted.
Try to get in the flow of your work, that is where the enjoyment lives, and batch common work tasks together.
Concentrate on one task only at a time for a fix amount of time, and even better until it is completed.
Without the pressures of a boss to watch over what you are doing with your day in great detail sitting beside you, it is the perfect opportunity to learn how to maximise your efficiency at work.
// Have no structure to your day
Children thrive on routines, but there is a reason for it.
Without some form of structure your brain will most likely look to procrastinate as much as possible and not be able to figure out which task next is the most important for your focus.
To achieve your goals and also be productive, create specific routines in your work-from-home days that help you get into the flow of work.
Set times during the day to check emails, do design work, collaborate with your team on calls etc.
We know the benefits of batching similar tasks together, and also make sure you add in your breaks to give your body a rest during the day too.
// Not rewarding yourself when you work hard
Without a boss beside you, or perhaps at all if you are creating your own business, sometimes the last thing you will remember is to reward yourself for a job well done.
Rewarding yourself appropriately throughout the day gives you positive feedback for your accomplishments and keeps things from getting boring to your brain.
Being at home allows for more relaxation than the office, so use this to your advantage by doing something fun at the end of the day or week straight from when you finish your working hours.
Working hard on your goals all week deserves recognition after all.
Want to work from home but don’t know what you could do for money?