Home Office Survival Guide

If you work at home full time or even part time (telecommute), then this post is for you!  While working at home sounds like a luxury (and in many ways it is), it can be fraught with challenges that can affect your productivity as well as your well being! Simply put, if you are part of the virtual world, then these practical tips will help you become more ergo savvy (avoid aches and pains), help you strike a healthy work-life balance (since we home works often have very blurry boundaries) and avoid a case of cabin fever.

Is Your Office Ergo Friendly?

The truth is, you are not immune to pains and strains just because you are at home! If you are finding yourself at a makeshift set up (i.e.,dining room table, living room couch, using your laptop – wherever) think again.  Ergonomic injuries are miserable and can stop the most productive among us in their tracks.  Not something you want to deal with.   For set up tips, check out The Pro’s & Cons of Working at Home. 

Get evaluated.  If you work for a company, investigate what their telecommute policy is. Some employers will furnish you with a desk, chair and other items, let you charge back office items needed and in some cases, employers will provide an ergonomic evaluation.  Remote evaluations can also do wonders!  All you need is a webcam, connection and a willing ergonomist!

Too Many Interruptions and Distractions?

Go out of your way to create a separate and distinct work space, even if it is in the corner of a room.  This can do wonders for your concentration and overall working mind-set.  If you live with others,  a designated work area provides you with a physical (and emotional) boundary.

One caveat.  If at all possible, stay out of the bedroom for work. It is really important to have a sacred space to retreat to and be able to turn off the to-do list and rest.

Are You Out of Balance?

We home workers rejoice in the fact that we can work in our P.J’s, do a load of laundry and prepare dinner on our work breaks, but the irony is, that most people who work from home, work longer and harder than people who work at an office. Why? Because your work is right there.  All. The. Time!

It is way too easy to check your e-mails upon waking, over coffee, after dinner and again before going to bed. Set boundaries. Your stress levels and body will thank you!

Lonely?

One of the greatest challenges of woking at home is feeling lonely, isolated and fending off cabin fever!   Here are some ideas to combat the loneliness factor:

  • Work at a cafe for part of your day.
  • Skype, FaceTime, Google Hang Outs or any other type of video chatting can help you feel more connected.
  • Check out co-working spaces in your neighborhood.    Co-working spaces are often free (or have a minimal charge) and are filled with people just like you who want to work around others.
  • Set up live meetings with colleagues and clients whenever possible.
  • Find other people who also work at home and make a “work together” date a few times a month to get out of the house and enjoy a fellow co-home worker.

Let us know what you do to manage your time at home by leaving a comment.  We’d love to hear what works for you and what doesn’t!

Until the next time,

Vivienne & Andrew

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