Many people fantasize about working from home. Just imagine: How amazing would it be to roll out of bed, get to work, and have time to enjoy the things that really matter in life?
Working at home isn’t for everyone. To be successful, you must set boundaries and establish a support network, both personal and professional.
Set Your Own Boundaries
It can be very difficult to get motivated to work when there is no one watching. Most of us are used to having a boss onsite; who monitors attendance, production, and behavior. When you work from home, you have to be self-regulating:
- You must set reasonable expectations for yourself regarding a work schedule and attendance and stick to it.
- You need to set production standards for yourself, such as deadlines by which a certain amount of work product must be complete.
- You must monitor your own behavior. For example, if you fall into a lazy streak, you must be the one to fix it.
These things seem very simple, but they can be very difficult to achieve, particularly for those whose self-discipline is less than ideal. Almost anything can seem more interesting than getting started with a job when distractions are all around you.
And once you get started, the opposite problem may develop: It may be hard to stop working because you can’t leave the “office” behind. You can make this easier by establishing a separate workspace specifically for work and by establishing quitting times. After all, flexibility is one of the key reasons you wanted to work at home, right?
Establish a Support Network
Working from home can bring a lack of collaboration and loneliness, if you let it. One of the most difficult aspects of working from home can be ensuring that you have regular human contact.
Of course, if you are working at home for a company, there are likely to be telephone conversations, emails, and even some in-person meetings. However, if you work from home for yourself, particularly as a sole proprietor or for a small business, finding human contact may be more difficult.
You’ll need to develop strategies for both personal and professional support. You’ll perform better if you collaborate or communicate with others in your field. Networking and professional organizations can facilitate these connections, so join one or two to stay connected.
You’ll also need to make sure you don’t work your life away. Schedule time with your family to make sure it happens, schedule time with your friends to socialize online, take online classes to keep your mind fresh, and start a hobby, if you don’t already have one.
Working from home can be very fulfilling, but you need to make time to take care of yourself and your family for it to be successful.
No matter how challenging it may be to work at home, particularly during the pandemic, you should try to practice compassion and gratitude. You may find this will make you less stress and more happy.