Useful Tips for When You Work From Home | Creative Ravens | Maryland Small Business Blog



Useful Tips for When You Work From Home | Creative Ravens | Maryland Small Business Blog


Working from home has become more and more popular over the years. The flexibility and freedom of freelance work has become increasingly more enticing as technology has advanced enough for many people to work from anywhere in the world. Many companies are enjoying not having to pay the overhead costs of maintaining a building for staff to work out of. Studies have even shown that workers tend to be more productive when working from home.

With all this being said, when you work from home, there are still challenges and distractions everywhere. Those don't go away just because you're working where you feel most comfortable. We know that things can be tricky when you work from home, so we have devised a list of tips to help you be a successful remote worker. Also, if you're not working remotely but would like to some day, check out this really useful post from Organizing Chaos 101! The post includes great suggestions for remote workers!

Make Sure to Have a Distraction Free Area


When starting out on a work from home journey, many people might set up shop in their living rooms or even bedrooms. They may not have access to an actual office space or spare room in their home. The issue with having work space in a living room or bedroom is the number of distractions there usually are in those spaces. What's typically in those rooms? Electronics like televisions, personal computers, phones, tablets, etc. There are so many opportunities to become distracted when you're forced to work in a space that isn't really designed for working. To top it off, many people dislike not feeling like they can ever really disconnect from work because they work where they sleep, decompress, and socialize.

 If you can, try to set up in another room, or do like we have done in the past and try to come up with an awesome office room design within those spaces. In most cases, just having a desk isn't going to cut it here! If you can, try sectioning off an office using bookshelves or shelving units from Ikea (or even Goodwill)! If your space just simply doesn't allow for extra pieces of furniture, try sectioning it off with curtains! We swear by Ikea's Dignitet system for this! On top of making your working space a little less distracting, sectioning off your office area will make it look considerably more professional should you ever have a video call with a client or prospective employer. No beds in the background anymore!

Below you'll see floor plans we completed before moving into our most recent apartment.  Our living room has a distinct "living room" area, as well as a sectioned off "office" area.
2D floor plan of live/work space
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3D floor plan of live/work space

Keep Your Workspace Clean and Inviting


Now that we're on the topic of making things look nice, remember that this is a space where you're going to be spending a lot of your time (unless you're traveling the world, which is pretty dang awesome). Make it beautiful, inviting, and some place where you'd like to spend a good chunk of your time. The look of this will differ from person-to-person, as everyone's preferences are uniquely different (and that's beautiful all in itself). Incorporate things that will make you happy, tools that will help you decompress, and whatever tools will help you complete your tasks efficiently. You're your own boss, so “do you, boo!”

Two Monitors are Better Than One (and Three is PERFECT)


Productivity is super important, no matter where you work. If you're in a position to utilize multiple monitors during your workday, do it! You'll be able to tackle numerous tasks at once, and once you learn to use more than one monitor, you'll wonder why you weren't doing it all along.

Keep Your Phone Close (but not too close)


Remember how we talked about distractions before, the phone is probably the biggest culprit (at least for us, anyway). Every single time it makes a sound there's the temptation to check out what it is. It can easily mess up your flow if you're feeling the urge to look at your phone every five minutes. Also, if you're on a client call, a phone constantly going off can easily be heard. Put it on vibrate, be disciplined, and if you need to, schedule in time to check your phone.

Sit Down, Stand Up, Stretch, Repeat


When you get into a groove, it is easy to get so sucked in that you work straight through without ever taking a break. Your work is done at the end of the day, but you wind up feeling burnt out. Remember the importance of self-care, and that it's ok to take breaks. No one will judge you for needing to relax your mind, and you'll probably find that your quality of work is better once you incorporate breaks in your day.

stretch at work

Light Music in the Background can be Relaxing


Do you have a favorite playlist? If not, you should probably make one specifically for working. It'll keep you entertained, and will also help to pass the time by.

Utilize All Online Communication Tools at Your Disposal


If you're part of a team, it's important to make sure all modes of communication that you all have decided on are readily available. Don't decide to work remotely and then go off the grid. Just because you're not seeing each other all the time doesn't mean your team doesn't need you. Establish systems of communication, and then stick to them. If what you all have decided on as group isn't working, try researching some other remote team communication tools. Your team will thank you later!

Have Strong and Reliable Internet


Have you ever tried working on a project at home and had the internet completely crap out on you? We have one of the higher end plans with our provider, and this is still an issue for us! At one point, our internet would go out several times per week, sometimes for days at a time. Thankfully, this was before we established our business, but it still was unpleasant. Just remember that you need reliable internet, and this is one area where you probably shouldn't skimp when it comes to your business.

I hope our list comes in handy if you ever decide to work remotely. It can provide a great deal flexibility, but there's still a ton of room left for distractions if you allow them to take over. Be disciplined and form good habits, and you'll be successful. For more information on how to form good habits, check out this post by Musings of a Milettennial. It is full of useful advice that can be applied to a number of situations.

reliable internet anywhere


Are you a remote worker? What tips or tricks have you used to stay focused?  In the comments below, tell us what your remote work experience has been like!

Comments

  1. I've worked from home for over 15 years and wouldn't want it any other way. Now that my kids are older it's a lot quieter during the day but a quiet space is importnat. I personally get more work done at home than I ever did in an office. Great list of needs for the person who works from home.

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  2. I do almost all of these when I’m working from home except a distraction free area. It’d be nice if I was rich enough to afford a house where I could have a separate office but for now I have to work from my room.

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  3. Studies have actually shown that working from home can make people MORE productive than they are when they show up to the office. That says a lot about the changing of times. And why not? As long as you've got a quiet area, good internet, and you can get the work done, you SHOULD be able to work from home!

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  4. I believe people are also much less stressed working from home. No worries about a commute to work. Some people spend so long travelling to and from work every day.

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  5. Thanks for these tips - I could really use a dedicated space!

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  6. I am about to start working from home one day a week and these are all great tips to help me get started and maintain productivity! Thanks so much!

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  7. having a distraction free space is BIG for me, as someone working from home full time. thanks for sharing these tips!

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  8. Great tips! I like that you added to remember to get up to stretch during the day, it isn't good to sit in one spot for too long.

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  9. Strong, reliable internet is the bane of my existence. Living in the country has its downfalls.

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  10. I swear, my phone is going to be my downfall! I get distracted so easily with social media stuff...blog related, but still, it takes time away from the actual CONTENT creation.

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  11. I am working on a dedicated office space right now. Currently looking for a desk, but my husband and I just finished cleaning out our spare room. It will become an office space and weight room for me. I am beyond excited to have a specific area that is for me and my work. I still enjoy working in my living room, while my adorable cat snores away next to me on the couch. But in terms of organization, I want my own space.

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  12. I'm a huge proponent of movement to help us stay focused and effective in our work. As a teacher, I don't sit still much, but I certainly don't let me kids sit still much either. When I'm working on prep work at home, I give myself a movement break every 30-45 minutes. Thanks for the post!

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  13. These are great tips! I also think it's important to have a set to-do list for each day that is realistic. If I don't have actual things that I plan to check off each day, I get so distracted by the messy kitchen or a trip to the store, etc.

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  14. I tell ya, there's no slow killer stronger than a slow internet or computer. I have been working from home since 2010, and I know that for a fact that fast internet is key to a successful WFH venture.

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  15. yes i´m a remote worker and these tips will help me to stay more focused, thanks

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  16. Thank you so much for your tips! I'm looking into working from home, and will definitely keep these valuable suggestions in mind!

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  17. I currently work a full time job in an office but some of these tips are still useful!

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  18. I need to add walk-the-dog to my list! I don’t go out enough!

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  19. Yes! I love that you highlighted the need for a clean and inviting workspace area. I think it's important, more so for creativity, to have things in their place.

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