Working from home has its perks as well as its downsides. Distractions can definitely be an issue especially if you’re a stay-at-home-parent and you’re watching over your little one or your incredibly cute pet just keeps popping behind your laptop craving for some of your precious attention. And what about those dreadful times when you have the flu but you can’t really say “No” to a client – you’re already working from home, what more can you ask for, right?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a telecommuting employee, a freelancer or you manage your own business from home. Working from home is a blessing but there will be times when you’ll be longing for your old office, no matter if it’s gloomy, noisy or simply smells like the week-old tuna sandwich that Joe from Sales keeps forgetting in the fridge. Why do so many people still prefer a corporate office over a home-office? They probably can’t focus well when working from home. But here’s the trick. If they keep in check these three main factors they’ll have no trouble handling a busy work day from their own home.
- Level of noise: Finding a way to reduce distracting noises will help you focus better.
- Quality of communication: Making sure communication is at a high level despite being away from the office. Not isolating yourself and finding ways to keep in touch with colleagues will help you stay motivated and create stronger and healthier relationships at work.
- Surroundings: Allowing enough light in, decluttering your workspace, following the rules of Feng Shui and making sure you feel comfortable while working.
But more on these later.
Perks of Working From Home
Those are clear as the blue sky. First, let me just underline the fact that the home-office reduces to a minimum one of the most nerve wracking activities ( at least for some ) that 9-5 office workers face every day – the daily commute. The early wake up, dizziness, and moodiness that comes with it. The long drive among other stressed-out drivers that makes out want to yell at every red light that comes your way. The half-hour search for a parking space ( people with designated parking spaces at work are truly blessed ). And then 9 hours of uninterrupted work except for a mere half an hour where you quickly gnaw your leftovers from last night’s dinner and run back to the office.
Some might call this a normal work day but for many, it is a never ending loop of inescapable tediousness. Working from home, however, is quite the opposite. You get at least one more hour of good night’s sleep by skipping the daily commute. You can work in your PJ’s, yes, it might be less professional, but it’s doable, and sometimes people do need their lazy pajamas work day! Now that you have more time in the morning, you can cook yourself a nice meal, read the newspaper with a cuppa coffee and relax before starting your big day. And once you’re done for the day, your TV and console are a few steps away. In other words, working from home provides freedom. The freedom to spend more time doing your hobbies and being near your close ones. The only trick you need to get right is focus.
The Three Columns of Focus When Working from Home
Level of Noise
Do you think of the office noise as a pleasant buzzing sound that gets your creative juices flowing? Or you get easily distracted by other people’s discussions and prefer a more secluded place that helps you focus more.
Truth is noise has a different effect on different people so you need to see what works best for you. If your home office is near a school or kindergarten, or you’re watching over your kids at home would you get easily distracted by children’s laughs and screams? Or are you used to the noise and you even perceive it as general background noise? If you’re easily distracted by sounds you need to make sure your home office is soundproof. One way to do this is to isolate a designated room in your home especially for work. If you lack the space make sure you have quality headphones. Listen to your favorite tunes or turn on a white noise track that makes you feel relaxed.
Quality of Communication
Working from home can be a bit dull for people with an outgoing personality while for those that dread every small talk, working from the comfort of their own home can be a little too comfy. One thing is certain – communication is key so you need to make sure you’re keeping in touch with colleagues and build healthy relationships with your colleagues. No matter if you’d prefer eating ice cream and watching your favourite show on Netflix after hours you need to set aside some time for your colleagues, especially when you’re working from home. Join video discussions during meetings, stay active on Slack or Skype, and even have a drink or two after work.
In terms of communication, you also need to set some ground rules for friends and family and let them know that working from home doesn’t mean you’re free and you should not be disturbed during working hours except in a case of emergency. If you find it hard to focus after being distracted leave household work for after working hours and tell your family in advance that you can’t chat or help around the house.
Does your workspace inspire you or make you feel down? Do you let enough light and fresh air in? What’s the view you have from your desk – a dreary building, a house plant, or maybe a decorated wall? Pleasant surroundings might sound mainstream but are actually key for focus when working from home. Decluttering your desk and creating an ESCREO whiteboard wall for your daily tasks, inspirations and goals are great ways to keep your focus on point when at home. The way you treat your workspace matches the way you perceive your work so keep a minimalistic working area and turn your blank walls, columns, desk or even your ceiling into a creative workspace where you can take notes, write inspirational quotes, create mind maps, set goals and stay focused and motivated when working at home.