If you’re reading this article, then you’ve likely already secured a work from home job or are considering making the switch to such a job in the near future.
Before we start, we’d like to say congratulations. Working from home can make for a comfortable work routine in which you have the ability to set your own schedule.
But if you’ve never worked from home before, then there are many different factors to consider to help form productive habits that will last for the length of your career.
Below, we’ve listed out some basic work from home guidelines for employees that you can use for yourself or give to employees of yours who will be working from home in the future.
Keep Track of Your Tasks
When you don’t have co-workers around to constantly remind you of what you need to do that day or that week, it can become fairly difficult just to keep track of all the tasks you currently have on your plate.
Simply writing down reminders to complete certain tasks is an unreliable means of organizing your work responsibilities and carries with it a high risk of forgetting multiple important tasks.
Instead, try to work out your own organizational system that will allow you to receive reminders for upcoming deadlines and correspondence with clients.
Freelancing platforms such as Upwork offer some of these tools for free through their website.
Outside of established organizational and scheduling tools, you may want to also set reminders in your phone for many events.
You may also decide to keep a running list of daily tasks that will allow you to cross out specific responsibilities that have already been taken care of.
This is an inexpensive and satisfying way to visualize your work.
Check out this helpful article for additional tips on how to stay organized.
Working alone each day means that you need to be your own boss much of the time.
When someone starts working from home, they tend to fall into one of two habits: either they work nonstop and don’t give themselves a chance to take a break or they work very little and quickly fall behind.
While the former option is certainly much more productive, neither of these working conditions is ideal.
Try to set realistic goals for your workday and do your best to meet those incremental goals.
Dress for Work
One of the best parts of working from home is that what you wear to work is entirely up to you, especially if you live alone.
When you first start working from home, you may vow to work only in pajamas or sweatpants, just because you can.
But we would like you to consider the following suggestion: dress yourself each morning, the same as if you were heading into a real office.
This doesn’t mean that you need to wear a formal shirt and a tie. Instead, just put on some real pants and a nice new shirt, similar to a weekend outfit.
This change of clothes will signal to your brain that it’s time to work, and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate.
Give Yourself Breaks
There’s a good reason that every place of work requires employees to take at least one break during each shift.
It gives workers the chance to relax for a bit and recharge themselves before heading back in to complete a shift.
It also gives employees some time to eat a meal and check their phones.
And you should take a lunch break when working from home for exactly the same reasons. Just because you’re not working in an office doesn’t mean that you don’t need to step away from your computer and relax.
The time of day when you take your break and what you’d like to do during your break are entirely up to you.
It’s always a good idea to use the time to step outside of the house and take a short walk. You’ll have a chance to get some fresh air and the exercise will help boost your mood and motivation levels.
Even if you’re very busy with multiple tasks, you should still take the time to step away from your work temporarily. In the long-run, you’ll be happy that you did.
Stay in Touch with Your Clients
Communicating with your boss or with clients is an essential aspect of working from home.
Just because you’re not interacting with these people in-person doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be updated with news of your progress or hear about questions you might have.
This is especially true when you’re a freelancer. Many clients state their preferences when it comes to how often they’d like to be updated.
You should adhere to these preferences as much as possible, never missing a scheduled update.
To help increase your chances of getting more freelance jobs in the future, go above and beyond and provide more details than the client asked for, or detail how the project is actually ahead of schedule.
Your clients will likely be impressed and remember in the future that you were able to exceed their expectations.
Impressing your clients also increases your chances of being given a bonus payment once the job has been completed.
Form Your Own Routine
It can certainly take some time to get used to, but eventually, you’ll become accustomed to working from home.
And at some point, you’ll notice that you’ve formed your own work routines. Examine this routine in detail and decide which aspects of it you’d like to change for the better.
You can continue this process of fine-tuning over the course of the coming months and years.
Before you know it, you’ll be a real pro and perfectly capable of finding time in your schedule to perform extra tasks or just take care of a few errands or some simple housework throughout the course of your workday.
There is not a one-size-fits-all guide on how to work from home. The best we can do is to make suggestions for you to try in your own time.
Some of these tips may work well for you, and some may not.
The most important part is to take note of what works for you, personally, and stick to those habits.