Top 5 tips for working from home
With the traditional working environment being forever changed during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s now more important than ever to ensure that as a small business owner or entrepreneur working from home, you continue to be productive. As we enter into 2021, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is no longer a temporary arrangement – but instead the new ‘normal’!
Now, we know just as well as you, that working from home brings with it a whole new array of challenges and distractions; meaning that remaining focused and productive whilst working from home can be tricky. That’s why Brand Sugar has carefully crafted a list of Top 5 Tips for Working Effectively From Home, to give you the tools you need to keep kicking goals from your new home office!
1. Keep to normal office hours.
One of the most important things for small business owners and entrepreneurs to do when working from home is to maintain normal business hours. If your normal business hours are 9am-5pm, then keep to them! It’s so easy to blur the lines of home and work by telling yourself… ‘It’s only one quick email, I won’t be long!’ But very soon, you’re into a full-blown conversation with a client at 11pm at night, and you haven’t spent any time with your family (or yourself!) for the evening. Think of it this way… you wouldn’t stay in the office until 11pm at night, so why should you be doing so when you’re at home!?
By taking away the traditional commute – many small business owners naturally tend to overextend the hours they work, which can lead to a number of negative effects. Firstly, physical and mental tiredness can occur, reducing enthusiasm and affecting mental decision-making processes, leading to poor decisions and outcomes; all of which may impact the standard of work being produced; which as you know, can lead to customer dissatisfaction – a key reason why customers seek alternative suppliers.
2. Maintain a dedicated office space.
Where possible it is very important for small business owners and entrepreneurs to have a dedicated working space. It is much better to work from one set location within the home every day – a clear uncluttered space – somewhere that you can shut out personal distractions and transition your mentality from ‘home’ mode to ‘work’ mode. This allows you to keep your mind focused and undistracted, which flows through to better productivity.
We know that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a dedicated home office, but to those of you in this boat – remember that this can be a symbolic office or ritual… like taking a laptop out of a drawer, making yourself a cup of coffee and setting up your ‘office’ for the day. All you are doing is getting in the correct state of mind for a productive day ahead.
3. Avoid doing housework – you don’t have to tell us twice!
One of the biggest distractions that small business owners and entrepreneurs face when working from home is the desire to do housework. It’s crazy right. When would we ever voluntarily want to do housework… but as soon as we’re working from home… we get that sudden urge to do a load of laundry clean the kitchen or vacuum the house from top to bottom!?
When taking a break between calls, it is easy to be distracted. But it’s important that remember that by doing these things can break your focus and distract from the achievement of business objectives at hand. House chores should be left alone during working hours to avoid unproductivity and working longer than required. These activities also use up more physical and mental energy meaning your productivity may be drained. Make sure to leave enough energy in the pot for your work to-do list!
4. Use a VPN.
A virtual private network (or VPN for short) provides privacy, anonymity and security to users by creating a private network connection across a public network connection.
If you’re not a tech-buff, one of the key things to understand is that: internet security can be compromised when working from home. Internet scanning and scamming is on the rise and your business details, information and banking access could be compromised if you are using a standard home internet connection.
The solution? Use a VPN when you’re working from home! It’s easy to believe that it will never happen to you, but if it does it can present many issues to you as a small business owner – if your own or clients’ data is stolen or used incorrectly. That’s why it’s better to take precautions than try desperately to find a remedy afterwards!
5. Take meetings to a local café.
If you typically would hold regular face to face meetings with clients when you’re in the office, then we recommend avoiding holding them at home. Your home is your sanctuary. It would be a far better option to find a local cafe to hold meetings at.
Holding meetings at home can cause unnecessary stress because your clients may judge you on how clean your house is. It is important to differentiate your working relationship from your personal life, and having clients come into your home could affect your client relationships.
By holding meetings at a local cafe gives you the opportunity to have a dedicated focus on maximising business outcomes. It will also give you, an outlet or break from working from home. Just think of it as an opportunity to check out that new brunch place you’ve been dying to try… you can thank us later!
If there is one key message that you take away from reading Brand Sugar’s Top 5 Tips for Working Effectively from Home, is: Boundaries, Boundaries, Boundaries!
Ok, that’s three things… but it’s incredibly important to set boundaries between your work and home life, to ensure that you can continue to be productive at work, and present at home.