How to stay on track and not go nuts when you work from home.
Something you might not know about us at BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE is that like many entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, and other similarly free-spirited folks, we work mostly virtually. It can seem like the ideal setup—but as any work from home veteran will tell you, it’s easy to go off the rails.
So we have a quick list of things to watch out for if you’re leaving the corporate world and it’s offices, rules, and structure behind. This post is for the individual—managing a team remotely is a whole other post.
Is working at home… good for my mental health? Is it bad? What gives?
If you do a basic Google search, you’ll find a lot of opinions out there on this topic. Not going into an office saves you the time and stress of a commute—but if you’ve grown accustomed to using that time to read, listen to podcasts or audiobooks, call family and friends—you might notice you miss having that outlet. Going into an office can sabotage your healthy eating efforts with office snacks and having to grab fast food because you forgot lunch—but being at home can mean sitting in front of a computer all day with endless access to your own snacks.
Ultimately, it depends on the individual. What it comes down to is identifying what positives you got from going into an office, and what you’ll need to be mindful of when those things are no longer built into your day. If most of your socialization is through work, you’ll need to figure out other ways to meet this need—Meetups, social media interaction (especially with groups and spaces oriented toward your interests), or reaching out to someone in your field to get lunch or coffee—these are all great ways to both socialize and network. What’s great about working from home is that sure, you have to put in some effort—but you can really curate your interactions to be the best for YOU.
Feeling… blah or uninspired
This happens to the best of us, office or not. The upside to being in an office? Lots of other folks around to talk through the blahs. The upside to work from home? The entire world is your inspiration. And so is your space.
Similar to socializing intentionally, when you’re at home, you can plan your space however is most inspiring to you. Even if you’re not likely to have clients or coworkers in your workspace, you don’t want to be stuck staring at institutional-looking walls all day, so be creative! The sky’s the limit, from painting everything Baker-Miller Pink to any number of sophisticated options. Try adding productivity-boosting music (check out this list from HubSpot). There’s no shortage of home office porn online, so have fun with it!
Watch out for time-suckers
Coworker chit-chat is almost definitely curbed when you can’t just walk into your neighbor’s office (although instant messaging can work similarly). We suggested social media for productive networking and socializing, but of course there’s the risk of finding yourself three years back in your cousin’s Instagram feed to find a picture of an impressively-sized squash for… reasons.
Have you moved today?
We all know that sitting in front of a computer for eight hours (or more) per day has major health drawbacks. There can be fewer “natural” interruptions when you’re in your own home, so if you’re feeling distractedly stir-crazy, get up and get out! A quick walk or a change of scenery can help reinvigorate you and improve focus.
There are lots of other strategies you can incorporate into your day to break up time AND get moving—the important part is that you do it.
S T R E S S
What stress? I work at home!
But of course some stress is unavoidable. A big source when you aren’t in an office can be time and project management—you have deadlines, timelines, etc., but the only person really monitoring progress is YOU. In fact, sometimes you can spend a TON of time on a project, only to scrap it and change direction—but if nobody sees the original work, did it even happen?
The solution, for the most part? You need to plan and track, and you need a strategy for checking in. We’ve all had the experience of being incredibly busy last week, and then trying to document what exactly you were busy doing. Which is stressful in itself! Do yourself a favor and investigate options for setting and tracking goals—whether using apps or manually with tools like Bullet Journal or or BestSelf.
And finally? Have fun! Enjoy the benefits your work from home setup offers.
Thoughts or insights? Let us know in the comments!