Working from home in recent years has become more sought out by professionals from many different areas. It allows for a flexible work schedule and the freedom to have your perfect office layout, which is always a positive thing. But lately, working from home has become more of a necessity and many pros weren’t ready for it.
Turns out working from home isn’t exactly easy – as comfortable as it may be, it’s still work and it comes with a different set of challenges. Some contractors may not have such a hard time adapting, but after a few months you can really feel the difference of how it changes your routine and mindset.
So, in order to have a more productive time working from home and avoid falling into the usual traps, here are a few tips that may help you out:
Have a proper place to work
If you look up “home office” you will probably find tons of pictures of people sitting in their living room with an iPad or laptop, barefoot, smiling with a cup of coffee by their side. There seems to be this misconception that working from home automatically makes work “super chill.”
That’s not to say it’s all bad – it’s definitely more relaxing than an office in many ways... but it’s still work, and you need to be able to focus on it.
I highly recommend setting up either a corner or an entire room to become your office. It might seem tempting to carry work around the house with you just because you can, but over time this could potentially turn your entire house into a stressful environment you can’t escape from.
Having a proper place to work is better for many reasons. For one, you can always keep that area organized and ready to start working (which is much harder to do for other rooms of your house or apartment), but most importantly, it will become mentally tied to work. When you sit there, it’s to work. When you leave, it’s to relax. This will help you stay motivated to work too.
I understand contractors often have to leave the office and work in job sites, but the idea is that you should still be able to sit on your couch or dinner table without being constantly reminded of work.
Use apps to improve productivity
There are many free apps out there that can help you be more productive at home. List makers, reminders, notes, project management, video calls, writing – whatever you need, there’s an app for it. And while it might seem superfluous to seek these out, they often have a number of features and resources that can increase your productivity.
Obviously you don’t need an app for everything, but since there are plenty of high-quality free options out there, you might as well give them a go – you can end up finding your new favorite app and make work easier and a lot more enjoyable because of it.
Check out these 10 apps that will help your contractor business!
Another common temptation of a home office is that because you have more flexible hours, people tend to overwork themselves and forget to take proper breaks.
This is very important nowadays because the great majority of work is done facing a computer screen, which is particularly harmful to your eyes at night – a good reason to avoid working at night, by the way.
Depending on your workload, you can decide how you want to take breaks. You might want to have a normal 8 hour workday with a 1 hour break in between for lunch, or work in smaller chunks with respective smaller breaks. It’s up to you, just remember to give your mind a rest every now and then.
Distractions are your worst enemy when working from home, and there’s a big difference between taking a break and getting distracted. Many pros won’t have that much of a problem with this – if you have a lot of work to do it’s likely you won’t let yourself get too distracted. But a home office offers a lot of distractions you wouldn’t usually have so readily available if you were used to a proper workplace.
Once again, this highlights the importance of having a proper place to work as opposed to just sitting on the couch or dining table. It’s too easy to look away and get distracted by house chores and other activities when there are so many opportunities to break away from “the zone.”
If you’re working from home, you should also know how to manage clients remotely!
Invest in a comfortable chair
You’ll never hear enough of this when it comes to a home office. You’ll most likely be on the computer all the time and a wooden chair borrowed from your dinner table simply won’t do.
Obviously, you can get away with not spending a dime with your home office. Most people have a leftover desk they can use, where you can decorate it, move some stuff around to make the space – there’s a lot you can do without spending money, which is great.
But if you can make an investment, invest in a comfortable chair.
I’ve been working from home since way before the pandemic. I’ve worked with the laptop on my lap, I’ve worked on a pre-owned desk I bought while sitting on an old dining chair, later I bought a better and bigger table for my office room, and changed my laptop for a better one…
But I only felt truly comfortable when I bought a proper work chair – and that was the last thing I bought, because I didn’t know better.
I still own that same chair today and believe me when I say this, it makes ALL the difference. I could have had any desk, any laptop, any room, but this chair was the investment that made my home office work, and I think this is the one thing that will completely transform your own space.
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