How to Work From Home…Better

A recent study in the Harvard Business Review has verified what many freelancers and other professionals have said for years: working from home allows them to get more done. Sure, people who primarily work from home miss out on things like making close friends at the office and snagging free doughnuts from the office kitchen, but in terms of productivity and well-being, there are some real tangible benefits.

However, some freelancers find working from home somewhat difficult. There are dirty dishes that beckon from the sink, episodes of Downton Abbey on the DVR that whisper, “Watch me,” and the occasional feeling that you’re in it on your own without a team or boss to guide you. If this sounds like you, here are a few ways to make working from home a happier, more productive experience. 

Set a Schedule

Ritual can be a freelancer’s best friend. Set up certain systems to give your workday a framework and help you differentiate between work time and free time. Commit to starting and ending your day at a specific time. Be sure to also build in short breaks and a time for lunch. The latter is especially important since food can help you think more clearly. 

Create a Workspace

You might not have a workplace, but you still should create a workspace. Find a spot in your home where you go to get work done. This might be your home office, kitchen table, or even your bed. Just choose a space that works for you and stick with it. If being at home makes you feel like a shut-in, find a shared workspace in your area and buddy up with some fellow freelancers.

Stand Up!

Many companies, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, offer standing desks for their employees. Given that that standing has benefits for both employee health and productivity, it’s no wonder why standing at work has become so popular. If you’re looking to make working from home a better experience, consider spending your day on your feet. 

Take (Real) Breaks!

One of the best things about working from home is that there’s no micromanaging boss or nosy coworker taking notes on everything you do. So carve out time to take short walks, head to a café for lunch, or even sneak in a catnap. Some freelancers might find it hard to do any of these things without feeling guilty, but as long as you keep your breaks down to a reasonable amount of time, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time to recharge. If you really want to feel rejuvenated, turn off the ringer on your phone. If someone needs you, they’ll leave a message. 

Get Out and Network

If you were in the office, you’d be meeting with coworkers, clients, and potential partners, so why not do the same when you work from home? Too often working from home can turn into an isolating experience when you really ought to be meeting people and finding new business. Set up a lunch meeting or afternoon coffee with a colleague or client a couple times a week to break up your routine and maybe even grow your business. If your clients or team are located in another city or state, sometimes a Skype meeting can give you the human connection you need.