By Joan Igamba
Stephen Nduku, has a work from home job that he says he would not trade it for anything else in the world. However, when we asked him if he would recommend this working schedule to others he hesitated.
“Working from home has been glamourized to a point where the expectations are completely different from reality.”
Stephen tells us that he totally understands why many Kenyans would envy this lifestyle. We are all tired of the daily long commute, after all. However, like anything else it has its pros and cons. Sure, you can work in your pyjamas or home clothes but will you be productive?
You won’t be bound at your work desk but will you be able to set a proper work schedule? One that will allow you to have the work/life balance you so dearly want?
“The biggest lie about working from home is that it is easier and less stressful compared to a regular job,” he says.
There will be distractions from many a place. If you have a family then your kids will constantly interrupt your productive hours. If you have a spouse and they too work from home, then again more distractions.
Your family will imply that you don’t have a real job since you don’t have a morning commute. The 15 seconds, or less, walk to your home office will begin to get lonelier with time. The time freedom you once enjoyed will turn into you working long hours because the work is right there.
Still many believe you’re home, what could possibly be the problem? I agree. You can make the best out of your time working from home by trying out and finding routines that could make you successfully work from home.
Use these key tips drawn from the personal experiences of Stephen, which proved effective for him and will hopefully be useful in helping you have productive work days.
1. Set a schedule
Having a 9 to 5 job means that you already have those hours set in stone for you. However, when you are working from home then you get to decide when you start your work day.
To help with this, you should set a strict schedule that you adhere to on a daily basis. This will help you remain focused and productive on your daily to dos.
If you have errands, do them outside of the set blocks of time dedicated to work.
A schedule will also help you structure your weekends better. It will help you create boundaries between your personal time and working hours.
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2. Have a dedicated work space
When it gets to that time where you’re meant to get down to work have a specific place in your house that you report to. It does not have to be a whole home office, even your dining area would do or a desk in your living room.
You should not lounge about the couch or move around from place to place because this is not what you would typically do at work.
Just make sure that your laptop or other work materials are at the same place every time so that your mind is conditioned that that area is meant for work related matters and is not for personal time.
3. Approach it as if you’re actually going to the office
Having the traditional office job means that you automatically have a buffer transition. What do I mean by this? When you leave home to go to the office, there is a transition in the form of a commute.
When you get to work, you have to get settled and set up your work station. This is yet another transition. On the other hand when you are working from home you just walk into your home office or your desk and that is it.
This is where a morning routine will prove helpful. This routine will set you up for a productive work day and help you transition from waking up to working mode.
4. Be flexible with your mind-set
Working from home especially if you live alone could feel isolating on days where you need some human interaction. It is important that you ensure you keep your mind-set flexible and positive on days like these.
If you feel demotivated, you can try to change up your routine. You could head over to your local coffee shop or simply give yourself a little break in the form of a walk. The change of scenery could set things in perspective for you.
5. Get up and get dressed
The human mind is an interesting thing. Yes, what you wear can affect your productivity and how you think.
Psychology studies have concluded that if you dress like you are ready for business, you feel powerful and capable hence leading to better performance at work.
This means that ‘when you look good, you feel good’ is a cliché because it’s true.
Before I end this article, I want to tell you to not listen to people who say you should never work from home because it is truly a beautiful thing.
If you have a job that offers a work from home option, even on a part-time basis, consider taking it and implementing some of these tips in order for you to successfully work from home.