Tips for Working From Home

Remote desktop connections, email, video chat, portable devices, and cloud computing make it easy for employees to work from home.  While some people welcome the flexibility offered by telecommuting, others see the ability to work from home as detrimental to a good work-life balance.  After all, North Americans are already known for tipping the scales toward work rather than life, so being able to work from home can make it more difficult to achieve a healthy balance, even if it might seem like the perfect solution to getting everything doneHere are some tips to ensure you can still live your life and make a living from home. 

Set Clear Boundaries for Yourself and Your Family

Set aside a specific time when you will work and only work, and then make sure your roommates, family, or friends are aware of this time. No matter what, go to your work space and start working during this time, even if your boss or coworkers do not  always require you to be available at that specific time. 

It may be difficult at first to stick to a structured routine, but it will pay off in both your productivity and the amount of time you’re able to spend doing non-work activities outside of this time. Also, if you have clear times when people know you’re available and when you’re not, it’s more likely they will respect those times.

Designate a Work Space 

If you work off of a laptop, it may be tempting to work in a number of different places in your house, but you will be less likely to be bothered by distractions if you pick a quiet, comfortable location and work there regularly. Take periodic breaks to stretch, grab a coffee, and walk around, but save any household tasks for non-work time (such as making a large meal, shovelling the sidewalk, and doing laundry).  

Evaluate Your Productivity 

If it normally takes you a morning or around 4 hours to complete a task at the office, are you able to do so at home within the same time, or does it take you the whole day?

If you’re not completing tasks in the same amount of time, ask yourself why. Are you distracted by the TV, phone, kids, pets, or day-to-day household tasks? It’s very easy to spend an entire work day sneaking in household tasks, so if you are taking longer to work on tasks from home, be honest with yourself about why that is, and then eliminate anything that is distracting you or taking up your time throughout the day. 

Decide Whether It’s Worth It to Work From Home 

Without structured hours, the workday can easily eat up your leisure time. And if you have children, you may end up feeling like you're never completely there. Working from home can also be quite isolating, as days to weeks can quickly pass without that social connection you gain from being in an office and around peers that inspire you. 

Needless to say, working from home requires a lot of discipline so it's definitely worth it to ask yourself if it really is worth it. 

If you’re working remotely because your employer is in another city, then this may seem like the only alternative. This is simply not the case. There are many shared workspaces available for freelancers and remote workers exactly like you (many of them are industry specific).  

If working from home really does work best for you and your needs, be sure to make use of video-chat and local meet-ups to keep you inspired and interacting with other people in your field.