Creating the perfect working environment at home

Working at home is great in everyone else’s eyes. They think that you can get up when you want and walk around in your pyjamas doing nothing all day. Of course, that is a myth because working from home is just as stressful as working from the office. Okay, you get some home comforts, but you also have to stop yourself from clocking off all of the time. The key is to create the perfect at-home work environment. Then, you can be productive without the formality of the office. Ah – that sounds like bliss!hands-woman-laptop-notebook

Get Out Of Your Pyjamas

Please don’t just sit in front of the TV in your pyjamas with your laptop. That isn’t going to accomplish anything because it promotes the wrong attitude. You want to promote a working culture, and that means you have to start by getting dressed. By all means dress casually because you don’t have anyone to impress. Just make sure you don’t dress too casually. That’s how you end up taking two hours breaks and watching a whole season of Game of Thrones!

Set Deadlines

Because you are the boss, there is no one looking over your shoulder or getting on your back. The great thing about that is the freedom, but that is also a curse. If you slack off too much, you won’t do any work. To stop this from happening, you need to set deadlines throughout the day. When you start, write down everything you need to complete and designate them a time slot. With the help of time tracking software, punctuality will become your middle name.

Be Safe

You are the boss, and it is up to you to ensure your safety while you work. You may not think it is an issue, but it is as much as an issue as health and safety in the office. After all, your home is your workplace, so it needs to adhere to the same rules. Start b
y organizing your workspace so that there is little or no clutter. Clutter is messy and can lead to trips and falls. Also, hire
appliance testing services to check that the electricity is safe. Finally, create your health and safety manual. All this will help if there is a problem and the insurance company wants to investigate.

Take Regular Breaks

The problem with working in the office is that you are at the mercy of your company’s policies. But, you are the boss at home. Take advantage of this by going for frequent breaks. Breaks are proven to refresh your mind and your body, making you more productive when you return. All you have to do is schedule them so that they don’t clash with your deadlines. A tip: don’t go overboard. Frequent breaks are essential, but too many will ruin your flow. Stick to two or three a day for a maximum of thirty minutes each.

Working from home is a good experience, but only when you get it right. Hopefully, these tips will help you make a smooth transition.

How to Work Efficiently From Home

entrepreneur-593356_640There’s been a huge growth in the numbers of people working from home, or starting up their own businesses at home. There’s an estimated eight million Britons running an enterprise – be it crafting or providing an online service – from their own properties. It’s a great solution – you use your own heating, don’t pay to commute and you can order your HP ink and claim it back against your tax! What’s not to love?

Well, for a start there’s the friends who think you’ll be able to drop everything to run an errand for them, or the delivery drivers who know you’re usually in to receive a parcel for the neighbour. Then there’s the housework – just a few minutes to put a wash on ends up with you descaling the washing machine, and the kettle, and finally the coffee machine. Then there’s the kids. Let’s stop there and think positive with four ways to work more efficiently…

Have your own space to work

This can be a desk behind a screen, an under-stairs cupboard, or even the shed. As long as your nearest and dearest know that when you’re in The Zone, you’re making things happen and you need to be left alone. Desks are much better than reclining on a sofa with a laptop, covered in crumbs watching Borgia.

Have a defined working day

You need to have definite business and working hours. If you run an online retail operation, you should aim for regular office hours – 8.00am to 5.00pm, for example. If you’re a writer, it’s a bit more flexible, but if people know you write between 10.00am and 2.00pm while the children are at school, then a couple of hours in the evening, you’re less likely to be disturbed.

You should also take a lunch break, as well as another couple of breaks in the morning and afternoon – there’s a reason office workers take a breather, it restores productivity.

Mind your own business

You need a certain amount of networking with other, similar businesspeople, but don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself with what and how they’re doing. If your aim is to earn extra money to pay the mortgage off quickly, stop wishing you were your associate who has just bought his second boat.

Get organised

Working from home plays tricks with your time management – you sometimes tend to work better when you have fewer free hours than when you’ve got the whole day free. Deadlines can shift and morph, with priorities changing and confusing you. Your to-do list shouldn’t be a simple list – it needs to be filtered by priority and deadline. This doesn’t include moving documents into folders when you’ve got billable work on your plate.

Working from home is a tough nut to crack, especially if the people around you don’t see it as “real” working. However, being self-employed can be liberating and empowering, especially for mums, as they can set their own agenda and hours. The important word is “employed”, though. You are working.

How you can add a personal touch to your office

home-officeYour office is where you’re going to be spending 40 hours of your week, slogging away at your desk to get all your work done. But it need not be a dreary set up; it’s so easy to add a personal touch to your office which can help with productivity, morale and general happiness. Here’s how to add a personal touch to your corner of the office and ensure you hit those deadlines in style:

A photo frame or two

Displaying your memories is the easiest way of adding a personal touch to your office. Whether it’s your wedding photo, a picture of your kids or a group shot with friends, having a personal image in an attractive frame on your desk will definitely add a personal touch.

Something homemade

If you have children, encourage them to get crafty and make you something to decorate your desk with. This could be something as simple as salt dough handprints, painted with their names on or something trickier, such as a ceramic pot to hold your pens in. Pick up some craft supplies and encourage them to use their imagination and create you something you can cherish forever.

 Get motivated

Do you have a saying you live by that motivates you to get out of bed and start working in the morning? Then look into having a print created featuring this motivational phrase. Sites such as etsy feature lots of sellers who can create attractive custom made prints for you, that you can then frame and hang in your office.

Bring in some colour

Colour will instantly brighten and rejuvenate an office space and can be introduced via cushions, stationery, coasters and wall prints. Choose items in your favourite colour to really add a personal touch.

 Add some plants

Whether you have a green or brown thumb, the right plant can add a real personal touch to your office. Choose succulents or air plants if you don’t fancy taking much time out to care for them or something simple like a peace lily that does require some watering every now and then but can be kept in dim environments. Here are some great plant options for your office space.

Light it up

If you don’t benefit from large windows in your office, then it might be time to add a personal touch (and some light) to your space, with either a lamp or some cute battery operated fairy lights that can be draped over shelves or around your monitor. Choose something that will reflect your personality; pom pom fairy lights or a lamp with an animal shaped base are perfect when it comes to adding some light and personality to your space.

Use a fancy calendar

Put the yoga cats calendar down and back away slowly. There are so many attractive and useful planners and calendars you can pick up now to add some personality to your office. Head to Paperchase or back to etsy again to pick up something fun and well laid out, which you can fill with all your planned events and birthdays that are taking place over the coming year.

Book Review: Work From Home by Judy Heminsley

A couple of weeks ago I posted my first ever audio blog and today I tried another experiment – an audio book review!

This time I decided to try out Audioboo’s Android app, which made me a bit nervous because I couldn’t do any editing before I uploaded the file!

Work From Home – book review (mp3)

I tried to cram everything I wanted to say into 3 minutes, but it didn’t quite fit 🙂 so here’s what else I meant to say:

And the lessons I learned from this recording? Three minutes isn’t as long as you think it is!

Would you like a copy of  my e-book Running a business around a family: 9 steps to successJoin  my mailing list and I’ll send you one!

Working from home with toddlers around: how on earth do you do it?

Question:

I’m at the research stage of setting up a small business while I look after my two toddlers. I  work most evenings once they have gone to bed but I’m also trying to fit bits in in the day. I feel I’m not giving my children the time I should as I’m distracted by work and I’m not giving work sufficient attention as I’m paying attention to my children – what can I do?

I really feel for you as I’ve been there and to some extent I still am! It’s hard, no doubt about it. Here are some tips to help: [Read more…]

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