Everything from flexible schedules to the emergence of the gig economy has made working remotely — aka working from home — more popular than ever before. And while working from home has some obvious advantages (zero commute time and expense), it also has some very real disadvantages (like never-ending workdays and, you know, isolation from human beings). But have no fear, freelancers! Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of working from home.
1. Designate an office space
Even if you only work from home a few days a week, carving out a dedicated space as your workstation helps set you up for success (and, depending on a few variables, it may also get you a home office deduction come tax time). If you don’t have a separate room that can serve as your office, don’t worry. Find a spot that suits your needs (it could be a desk, a table, or even a corner of the garage). And before you start the job, make sure you have whatever tools you’ll need to get your work done right— that could mean anything from specific software to a stronger Wi-Fi connection.
2. Make it your own
A comfortable office space can boost productivity and help keep you focused on the task at hand. Surround yourself with things you like and make small improvements to the functionality of your space whenever you can. Whether that means investing in better lighting, adding a scent diffuser, or buying an ergonomic chair, take time to make your space feel personal and functional.
3. Keep it tidy
Let’s face it: mess causes stress. Once you have your office space set up, do your best to keep it (and the space around you) presentable and uncluttered. In addition to helping you keep your mind clear and focused on work, there are other practical reasons to prioritize keeping your space orderly (ever do a video conference surrounded by dirty dishes?) So keep things shipshape and always, always consider the view when joining a video call from home.
4. Set a schedule
For many remote workers who have clients in different time zones, setting limits on your availability can seem like a challenging task. While many work-from-home freelancers are willing to put in odd hours, don’t forgo all semblance of work-life balance in the name of endless flexibility. Communicate with clients and/or coworkers early and often to help set expectations for your availability (and don’t be scared to push back when you need to).
5. Go outside
When you work from home, it can be easy to forget the world outside (not to mention the need for daytime apparel). Even on busy days, try your best to give yourself a series of short breaks. Get dressed, go on a brief walk, grab lunch somewhere other than your kitchen, or even work somewhere else for a change of pace — like the library, a co-working space, or a café.