Working from home has become an increasingly acceptable and common method of working for many people, as both employers and workers recognise the mutual benefits to be gained. But working from home isn't an easy option. It brings about a whole set of challenges, that not everyone might be suited to coping with. Here are some tips to manage your time better when working from home.
Why time management becomes an issue
When you work in an office, you have a very structured routine to your day. But, when you work from home, you're trying to mix a working environment with your home environment, and keeping the two at a distance can be tricky. You also don't have that same level of structure when you work at home, because you aren't sitting amongst colleagues or following work routines. You don't have a manager at close range to keep your in check. This can make it harder to be organised and create a normal structure to your day. But, there are lots of ways you can help to better manage your time whilst working from home.
When you work from home, you're in an environment where you're more prone to being distracted. Neighbours might knock at your front door. The telephone might ring. Kids will come bustling in and out of the house. The dog wants taking for a walk. All of these things might try to get in the way of you completing your daily work tasks.
But even if you aren't being disrupted by others, there are temptations put in your path as well. There's the television. You could really do with sticking the washing machine on. Or it might be so much easier to get an appointment with your favourite hairdresser during the working week. How do you deal with all of these things on a daily basis?
You have to be firm and strict. Create a designated working area in your house and close the door behind you. If needs be, stick a 'do not disturb' sign on the door so nobody else in the house will interrupt you. Inform family, friends, neighbours, etc that you work from home, which means that you can't be interrupted during the day.
Stick to the same routine as you would have done if you'd been in the office. Take your breaks at the same times, and maintain the same regime as much as possible.
You'll be better able to manage your time and your work if you feel professional. By this, it means getting dressed in your usual work clothes, and not lounging around in your pyjamas. Try to make the distinction between your working time and your home time. If you feel professional then it will rub off in your daily activities.
One of the biggest problem areas many home workers face is the fact that they often feel out of the loop, because they don't have colleagues next to them to communicate with. This shouldn't really be an issue when working from home, you just need to set specific times in the day when you will contact your colleagues for any updates. The more you plan your day or set specific working goals or times when you do things, the easier it will be to manage your time, stay organised and avoid any distractions.
Crispin Jones writes on a number of business topics for WD Storage, a secure document storage company based in Nottingham. To connect further with Whitefields please feel free to visit them on Facebook.