Working from home has a lot of advantages. If you’re transitioning from a traditional job, you’ll be getting rid of your daily commute. If you have a family to take care of, you’ll get a chance to be closer to them during the workday. And studies show that working from home can make you more productive in the right circumstances.
But starting to work from home can be a challenge, especially if you’ve never done it before. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to start working from home effectively – even if you’re completely new to the concept.
The Right Job
First, you need the right job. Not every job can be done from home, and some benefit more from remote work than others.
If you’re in a field that requires a physical presence, you may need to consider a career transition if working from home is important to you.
These are some of your best options to accomplish this:
· Education. Consider going back to school or taking classes online to get new credentials or expand your skillset. A degree in a new field can open the door to an entirely new career path.
· Training. You could also consider finding a mentor or an apprenticeship program and getting training directly. Do you know someone who currently works from home? Perhaps they’d be willing to provide you with guidance and training.
· Entrepreneurship/self-employment. Instead of working for an employer directly, you can become self-employed and start your own business. Figure out what your core competencies are, research current consumer demand, and consider innovating a new product or service to provide.
The Right Space
Working from home also practically requires you to have a home office. While it’s possible to work from the couch with a laptop, you’ll be more productive with a dedicated space.
· Rooms. Ideally, you’ll have a designated room for your home office – but you may be able to fit a desk and some work equipment into another room already in use (such as a bedroom). In any case, you’ll want a formal space for your work to occur, separate from the areas of your home for personal and recreational use.
· Furniture. Next, you’ll need to buy the best office furniture you can afford (from an office furniture brand you can trust). High-quality furniture will make you more comfortable when you’re working, allowing you to naturally hold good posture while increasing your focus and productivity. And if you make the right investment, this furniture can last you a lifetime.
· Equipment. Good, high-tech equipment can make working from home much easier. A computer with a good video card, lots of RAM, and a high-resolution monitor can make all your online work seamless. An additional monitor can expand your capabilities even more, and a high-definition webcam can ensure you look professional in all your video conferences.
· Peripherals. It’s also a good idea to invest in peripherals, including computer accessories, to support your work habits. For example, an ergonomic keyboard can make it more comfortable to type and well-positioned, high-quality speakers can fill your office with relaxing music.
· External spaces. Your home office may be limiting or may get boring over time. That’s why it’s a good idea to also consider working in external spaces, like shared workspaces, coffee shops, or libraries.
The Right Mindset
Not everyone will be immediately successful with their first foray into working from home. If you want a better chance of working productively, you’ll need the right mindset, including:
· Self-reliance. When working from home, you’re not going to have a boss walking around and looking over your shoulder. Your performance will be entirely dependent on you. You’ll be in charge of setting your priorities and following through on them.
· Discipline. It’s hard to stay focused on work when your bed is right behind you or when your TV is in the next room. If you want to work productively despite the distractions and comforts of home, you need self-discipline.
· Scheduling and routine. It’s important to develop a regular schedule and create a consistent routine. Once you establish good habits, it will be nearly impossible to break them.
· Personal and professional division. Working from home can make it harder to draw the line between personal and professional life. It’s important to set boundaries and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
It can be hard to cultivate the right mindset from scratch, especially if you naturally struggle with working from home. And you may not have the perfect space for a home office, or an idea for your future career development. But as long as you remain adaptable and willing to put in the work, you’ll eventually find the right environment and approach for your needs.