The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Office

After 20 years as a Project Manager, it was easy for me so decide to work for myself. Big companies are so political! So, in 2013, I took the plunge and went Freelance. All I want, just like any project manager, is to get the job done!

However, when you go Freelance, your office is now your client’s, with all those distractions and unnecessary meetings. You don’t have an office and workspace that you can call your own.

No brainer! Work from home. Likewise, anywhere else that helps you to concentrate. However, there are some basic rules.
Let’s divide them up into Do’s and Don’ts:

My personal Do-list for “home office”:

– Get professional
Take a shower, get dressed and put on your “I am working now” mindset. Ignore the distractions you could have in the house which would take you away from working.

– Know your highly efficient work hours
If for example you are a morning person, then use this time for creative or high concentration work. Don’t sleep too late and loose important time to get things done! In the afternoon you can have your siesta or dedicate yourself to more administrative work. Likewise, the opposite applies if you are an afternoon/evening type.
You are not anymore obliged to work “normal” office hours, so find out where your highest level of energy lies and use it wisely.

– Have one day free – minimum
You need to recharge your batteries. All work and no play is not a good recipe for the soul!

– Stick to a routine
Sounds boring? It isn’t! When following a certain routine your mind and body adapt to it and you can finish things better and quicker! Just think about the first cake you ever baked and your nº 100!

– Separate your private space from your workspace
It is almost the same as the first DO in the list – only in a more organizational sense! I always prefer not to mix up my favourite spot in the house where, for example, I read for pure pleasure or fun with my place for work. Keeping your spaces separate helps you to disconnect when you need to.

My personal Don’t-list for “home office”

– Do private and work tasks simultaneously
If you work, you work. Don’t look after your children, cat, dog, partner or parent while in a business call. Stay focused and take it seriously.

– Stay 24/7 at home
There is a real tendency for you to stay at home forever when working from home – just don’t! Go out, meet friends, go dancing, to the zoo, jogging or whatever your heart asks for – don’t spend all your time at home!

– Lack the right equipment
Working in and for a company has the advantage of having the right tools in place: monitor, computer, mouse, printer, communications, software, etc. Working from home requires you to take care of this by yourself. You need the right broadband flat rate, which is reliable and stable enough for you to have meetings and calls. Don’t be cheap with your equipment. It will cost you more in the long run, both financially and emotionally.

– Let your documentation get messy
If you don’t have access to a company SharePoint or file system, etc. you have to think about your own set up. Also, consider your security and a back-up system. Don’t let your work organization fail.

– Let your workspace get untidy
Some of us are a little more chaotic than others. That’s fine, but just remember that there is no cleaner coming in to tidy your desk at the end of the day!

Finally, there is one more element to consider for successful home working which doesn’t fall into the Do’s and Don’ts:

– Trust
Any home office approach doesn’t make sense at all if your boss or client doesn’t trust you. The number of hours you spend working is nothing compared to the results you produce. Some bosses or clients may need this explained to them.
See here for more on this topic: check out what the Corporate Rebels have to say!

So, there you go! Try to follow these simple rules and your home office experience will be richer and more rewarding. Of course, this list is not exhausting, so feel free to add any tips you have in the comments section below.

Happy home working!

Sylvia

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