The 6 mantras for a successful home office

Moving from the office to home?

Working from home can be very tough to start with. I, like many, struggled with my own personal motivation and time management. I presumed it would be the same as sitting in the office, but without a long commute….. How wrong I was! The usual deadline opposing chatter such as a colleague telling you about their amazing weekend, or their new car can make the office seem filled with distractions. You will be amazed how much easier they were to deal with than the distractions of being at home. You will, like me, miss the human interaction and strive for something to break up your day. Over the past 7 years I have found there are 6 crucial areas that if you get right, will give you the success you strive for. So here goes;

1 – Equipment

This is without doubt key to your success. Working from a home office often means you will need to support your hardware yourself, so having new and fault free equipment is a must. Trust me it is worth investing in a high spec PC or laptop with multiple screens, a good WiFi router with excellent coverage, a decent smartphone, a reliable printer (if required) with plenty of spare consumables, a desk large enough and a comfortable chair. If you are on the move then a long battery life on your mobile device is a must and a screen big enough to work on is also key. I tried to work off a very small portable laptop for a month and it proved very difficult.

2 – Internet

Again key to your success. Many work at home jobs require you to be available during office hours, so its worth investing in high speed internet where possible. I always like to have a reliable 3g/4g network available in case of any outage or if I’m working on the move. This can be either from a mobile phone, a 3g/4g router or a usb dongle that most mobile network operators will provide.

3 – Environment

You will find its most productive to have a separate space in your home to work from. Setting up in front of the TV or working from your bed will not work for most.  You will find yourself behind on deadlines or in some cases out of a job within a very short period of time. I find it key to have as much natural light as possible, ideally with a view out of a window so you can focus on something else rather than your screen from time to time. If you are working on the move try finding hotels that have a business centre as most of them are free to use with your own equipment. I’m not saying do your full day from here just use it as a catch up to prevent falling behind.

4 – Time

Good time management will save you a lot of heartache in the future. Make sure you have your day planned out. Removing the commute from your day will give you more time for yourself. Try not to waste it! I find a morning workout gets me going for the day and helps with focus, although sometimes the extra time in bed can be the ticket! BUT ALWAYS make sure you are up plenty of time before you need to start work or you have the time allotted to get freelance work done to deadline. Take regular breaks to go get a coffee or snack during the day as it will make the day pass smoothly and help you keep focused.

5 – Goals

Set yourself daily and monthly goals. This will help with your personal motivation. If its a sales target you want to hit, make sure you hit it! If you have deadlines on a job make sure its done with time to spare. Personal and work goals alike can really make a difference with your motivation and happiness. This can be the difference between success and failure.

6 – Communication

The single biggest thing I miss from the office is human interaction. Most people have Skype on their desktops or Whatsapp on their phones, don’t be afraid to use them. Sounds crazy but a small distraction from time to time can help you to stay focused on your daily tasks. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and chat to your clients or colleagues, many will be happy for the call and it can keep you from going mad.

Hope this helped and good luck!

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