How to survive working from home…

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with working from home. There are times when I genuinely love it, usually weather related – I mean who wouldn’t want to work in the garden on a sunny day or have the luxury of staying indoors when it’s teeming with rain.

But that love can soon turn to hate when you have to deal with people just dropping by unannounced, being the main parcel drop off for neighbours and people assuming that you don’t have a job just because your office is in your own home.

If you’re also a home worker or you’re thinking about taking the plunge here are some tips to help you survive (stay sane even) working from home…

Get a dog

Bit extreme I know but having a dog is possibly one of the greatest things to have around when you’re working from home. I’m an anti social soul so don’t tend to get much in the way of cabin fever, in fact I relish days where I don’t have to step out of the front door but having a dog gives you a purpose for getting out.  They can’t walk themselves and when they are relying on you to take them out it’s hard (and wrong) to say no. {If you have a child you’ve kind of got this covered}

Embrace the freedom
People always give advice along the lines of stick to a routine, work 9-5, get in to the zone – but why bother? Why work 9-5 if you don’t have to. Instead embrace the freedom and set your own timetable for working.

My routine…

I like to start my day early. I grab a cuppa, check emails and go through my to-do list.  I then take a little twitter break and catch up with the online papers. I’ll do a bit more work before a break to walk the dogs. I don’t really tend to have a lunch break so I’ll work through and then take a few hours in the afternoon to go shopping or to the gym before settling down to do another few hours of work. I know that I work so much better in the morning so I try and get the bulk done then. 

Get a skype buddy
One thing I know people miss when working from home is the office banter and the ability to throw around ideas with a colleague. Well don’t let working from home stop you! My saviour is the great debsylee we have some pretty fantastic skype conversations that can range from the pure ridiculous right through to business brainstorming and advice. Skype is free, face to face and if you’re like us you can just leave it running in the background so it feels like you’re in the office.

Set some ground rules
People will always take advantage. I can’t tell you how quickly I become bored of being the parcel drop off centre for my street. So I set a boundary. Unless I was waiting for a parcel myself I just wouldn’t answer the door. That soon solved the case of the unwelcome visitors and casual drop ins. The sooner your friends, neighbours and relatives realise that they wouldn’t just call by your office for a casual chat on a Monday morning, so it’s not appropriate to call by when you’re working – the sooner they will stop doing it.

Get your home life organised
If you’re someone who can’t rest knowing there are dirty dishes in the kitchen or that there’s washing to be done – resolve to get your home life organised. If you know that everything is organised and sorted then you’ll be able to work without the nagging distractions.

Know when to stop
I’m always taking my laptop in to the living room and working whilst I should been relaxing. I personally don’t see anything wrong with that, but knowing when to stop is a key skill. You can’t work 24/7 every day so when you’ve done your work for the day – leave it. By leaving it you will often find that you will tackle the project with a fresh head the next day.

Have your own space.
Not everyone will be able to have their own room that can be a dedicated office but you CAN have your own spot. Think about investing in a desk that’s just for you (I love these bespoke desks, click here to have a look) or hijacking a corner where you can leave all your work stuff without feeling guilty. It’s so important to have a spot that you can buckle down and just get to work without worrying about getting in the way.

I’ve not covered the usual advice of “get dressed”, “pretend you’re at the office” etc because unless you’ve got a job which requires you to do so then you should just work however you feel comfortable. I try and at least maintain some standards by putting on a bra and appearing to look dressed for a day working from home but I don’t make a huge effort and have full make up on each and every morning. I figure if you’re comfortable, organised and ready to get shit done then you’ll do it whether you’re wearing pjs or a suit.

I would love to hear your tips for working at home – leave them below…


Author: Rachael

I'm a journalist and creative consultant. I write about how busy women (just like you) can live, work and eat - better.

11 thoughts on “How to survive working from home…”

    1. @1SarahJayne I should do a serious one, it’s not the usual stick to a routine, do this, do that. May do a series of them actually xxxx

    1. @peterbrowning 🙂 just like me, just had to go and correct a load of grammatical errors – think it’s time for me to “know when to stop!” 🙂

      1. @rachaelphillips Unless I’m under time pressure I trend to work until unforced errors start creeping in. Then it’s time to stop.

  1. @rachaelphillips oh honey, you missed a solution for having zero internet and a battery that only lasts an hour…

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