Having said that, if you ask most people who work from home, what the experience is like for them, most will concur that it is indeed a dream come true. With no required dress code, money saved from reduced commuting expenses and minimal interactions with the boss, working at home does seem like the best idea since sliced bread.
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However, if you ask them about the challenges they face when working from home, whether they have an at home call center job, work as an online freelancer, work on data entry jobs, or whatever else, you will get a universal answer: lack of motivation. Below is a list of common challenges and solutions to make your working from home experience more fulfilling and less hectic.
1. Create an office or “Work zone”
In cases where you are unable to separate your office work and your home life, it is important to establish a zone where you do all your office work, and store all your work related material. This does not have to be an entire room in the house. It can be a table in the corner of your dining room, basement or garage. As long as it is as far away from the usual commotion as possible, you will be fine.
2. Be Professional
Working from home is not a good enough reason to let your image go. Do not attend meetings or make phone calls in your dishevelled clothes. Maintain your usual hygiene standards as it helps with your concentration levels. If you’re clean and dressed, you’ll conduct calls much more professionally and have better results. Avoid the temptation to be relaxed with your communications just because you’re in your fuzzy bunny slippers.
3. Make regular check-ins with the office
Sometimes when working at home, your colleagues at work may “forget” about you. To avoid this, make frequent (but not nuisance) calls to colleagues whenever you send an email, and make inquiries on the progress of projects under your docket. Call your boss when you are unable to solve a problem, or just to ask for clarity over issues Do not make your work mates imagine that by being at home, you need your space and do not need to be disturbed.
4. Take a break
In case you start feeling a little tired or distracted, take a break. Step out and get some fresh air. Go to a restaurant for lunch. Order some take away, or heat up some of last night’s left-overs. Once you are rested, you will be able to power through the remainder of the day. Resist the urge to have some shut eye. It never works.
5. Have a routine
Try to be as consistent as possible. Do not change your sleeping or dressing habits. Maintain them as this will help you differentiate between your working hours and your home times. Eventually you will get your scheduled work done and reduce instances of you losing your mind.
6. Set up regular work hours
Make your work experience as routine as you possibly can. Set up your arrival time and departure times. Give yourself a lunch break. Maintaining your normal business hours will be helpful in establishing boundaries between work and office hours.
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7. Don’t clean during working hours
Some of us begin to include those tasks we never get around to doing to the time we are working from home. We imagine that we will be able to magically get the task done without interfering with our scheduled work for the day. Stick to your regular cleaning schedule. Do not digress from it, or else you will end up with nothing done
8. Get out of the house at least once daily
With the conveniences of modern life, where you can access goods and services that you do not have time for, such as online shopping, food delivery, and dog walking, you are at risk of turning into a couch potato if you don’t get up from your chair. Go out for a drink, take a stroll around your block, or get into your car and drive around for a while. Keep your circulations flowing.
9. Avoid volunteering too much
Your family and friends can take advantage of your staying at home. To them, your working at home is the equivalent of them getting a free servant for a day or two, so establish necessary boundaries to enable you to focus on your work. No babysitting, no dog walking or house sitting during office hours. You can be creative and volunteer for the amount of time you would have spent commuting from home to work and back.
10. Keep errands to a minimum
It may seem like a wonderful idea to run your errands just before the weekend in order to avoid the weekend traffic, but this will only end up in your falling behind your work schedule. When on an errand, you may receive an email or phone call that requires your immediate attention, and if away from your workstation, you will not only fail yourself but the entire team you work with as well. Limit your errands to your designated lunch break period. Inform your colleagues that you will be out during a certain period of time and work longer to compensate for the lost time.
In a nutshell, you have to treat online jobs just like other jobs. Treat it as a real business and not work that can be interrupted whenever by whomever. Even simple things as appearance that you not think would have any impact on your productivity, can indeed effect how you work from home.