The idea of working from home attracts everybody at some point or the other. People who commute to an office envy those who don’t have to. Sitting in the office, most of us have indulged in daydreams about working from the comfort of our home.
The challenges of discipline and distraction while working from home that people face are not always the easiest to overcome. The first few days or even months may be great and move along smoothly, but once the enthusiasm wears out and the routine sets in, things can get boring and isolation can set in. Add that to the lure of sleeping-in and procrastination, your entire idea of being able to work at home successfully can go out the window. Staying confined in your home office all the time can make you feel saturated and lazy. The four walls of your office space may even become your comfort zone if you do not set specific times to work and specific times for non work activities. Performance can drop, frustration and self-doubt can creep in. Not what any of us wants happening to us right?
It doesn’t have to go that way. Working at home can be fun and efficient at the same time. To make it work, it’s important to add an element of fun to your work pattern and surroundings when you work at home. Here are a few things that worked for many of us at HMS, and may help you too in making working from home fun:
To be most successful, you should have one place that you use for your home office. But you need to remember that this place that you sit and work from should be comfortable. Since you will not be stepping out often and will be confined to this space for most of your day, you need to ensure that you are sitting on a comfortable chair and a desk with enough space for your computer and work equipment. Working from home often means working in isolation. There will be very few instances when you will get up from your work area to go and talk to other team members. Hence, it is important that you have a comfortable chair to avoid back and other health problems.
Try and have bright colors around you, this could include plants, pictures, or even an open window. This will help reduce boredom and office dullness. Make sure that the place where you sit is brightly lit and has very few distractions. Add a personal touch through pictures of loved ones, favorite charms and memorabilia. All of this works wonders sub-consciously. You will be upbeat, cheerful, motivated and more efficient.
Since you are alone, you may tend to sit in one place for long hours without realizing how much time has passed. After a while, your mind will begin to get tired and lose interest in the work at hand. Taking short breaks regularly will help resolve this problem. You should take 5-10 minute breaks every two to three hours. Step away from your computer, walk out of your home office, look out of the window, walk around the house, visit the washroom or take this time to make a snack. All these things will give both your body and mind a break from sitting long hours and staring at the computer. While taking these short breaks is important, you also need to remember to have the discipline to get back to work once the set break time is over and resume work.
Sometimes the kind of work that you do can also make a difference to how you feel. The advantage of working from home is that, you can choose what type of work you want to do. Make sure that the task you take on interests you. If it does not, then no matter how much you try, you will get bored while doing it. What you like and what you don’t can make a lot of difference to how you feel about your work. So, choose wisely and take on only something that you feel will be successfully rewarding. Working from home is not for everyone, and it can even be more challenging if we do not enjoy our work.
While working at home in isolation, there may be days when you do not hear a voice other than your own for hours. Unlike an office environment, you may not have people to talk to around you. However, it is important to keep the communication going to avoid boredom. If you work with a team, then make it a point to speak to someone from your team every day. Many work at home opportunities tend to use instant messaging services to correspond with other team members. Using an instant messaging service can help keep the boredom, monotony and isolation feelings at bay when used in a responsible way.
One of the biggest problems of people working from home is that they tend to confine themselves at home and don’t step out at all. Initially this is to maintain the discipline and finish all of the work at hand. And eventually this becomes a habit that is very difficult to break. The work chair and the room with the system becomes the individual’s comfort zone that he/she just does not leave. People who go to office to work leave their home everyday to get to office and back. People working from home don’t even have to do that. It is essential that you get away from this workspace and go experience life outside as well. Get involved in some social work, enroll in hobby classes, take walks in the park, take children out to play, meet friends or visit a coffee shop, etc. If you are a part of a group of people who work from their respective homes, then meet up regularly and spend a day together sharing your thoughts and ideas. This will bring change to the monotonous work routine and will also ensure that you step out of your room. This change will create a balance in your work and personal life and will reduce the boredom of working from the confines of your room to a great extent.
Working from home often comes with specific goals, quotas or deadlines that need to be met daily. This can either be stressful or you can use these targets to make your work fun. The same task day in and day out can become monotonous. Creating a mental game out of your goals or deadlines can help break the monotony and add a fun element to your job. Set your own rules of the game every day and reward yourself for being the winner! Remember, working from home is only as boring as you allow it to be. On the other hand, it can be as much fun as you can imagine it to be.
Enjoying what you do defines how successful you are in your job. Happiness and fun is one of the biggest secret ingredients to the success of an individual as well as an organization. If you are not happy doing what you do, you will not be able to contribute to the company’s success and in turn will hurt your own chances of being a successful professional. Working with a winning team like HMS will give you the freedom of working from your house as well as the happiness of being a part of a successful team. Come, add some fun to your workday, and make your workday fun.