If you’re new to working from home, it can be a little intimidating to figure out how to best adapt. After all, you’re used to the buzz of the office, the hum of the coffee shop, or the collaborative energy of in-person team meetings. With that said, you might be surprised by how productive you can be after setting up a true work-from-home office space that is dedicated to your freelance work.
Here are some tips for setting up a work-from-home space so you can focus on getting your work done.
Step 1. Carve out a space for yourself.
Even if you don’t have a home office you can dedicate to work, finding just a corner with a desk is a great foundation. Make sure you have a desk that fits you, along with an ergonomic chair to keep you comfortable throughout the workday. In fact, you may find that you do best with a standing desk. There are a huge array of standing desk models available.
Step 2. Make sure your technology is up to snuff.
The right tools can make or break your productivity and workflow during the day. If your work requires remote access to clients' systems, make sure you've got everything you need to do your work seamlessly. If any of your gear is getting old or outdated, this may be the time to consider an upgrade.
Step 3. Invest in small joys.
If you’re not accustomed to working from home, you might feel a little lonely and isolated working by yourself. Take the time to create a space that inspires you. Add a little bit of greenery in the form of a low-maintenance houseplant. Consider adding a Himalayan salt lamp or fairy lights for a more whimsical ambiance. Buy a mousepad that supports frustration-free mouse movement.
Step 4. Connect with others remotely.
Even if you don't have a dedicated office, you probably used to take advantage of coworking spaces or coffee shops to get out of the house and network. It’s important to keep that up when you are working from home. Consider setting up both formal one-on-one chats with clients as well as informal videoconferences with your freelancer friends, like a Friday happy hour where everyone can talk about their professional and personal wins.
Step 5. Create a schedule.
One of the best ways to make the most of your new remote work situation is by setting up a schedule that you can follow each day. The human body and mind thrive on routine. If you normally wake up at 7, continue to do so. Give yourself breaks throughout the day, including a long walk or exercise break at lunchtime to get away from being inside and looking at a computer.
Step 6. Know when to call it a day.
Working from home can sometimes mean that your work and regular lives bleed into each other. While working past 5 p.m. is sometimes inevitable, make sure you reach a point where you power down your computer and don’t respond to non-urgent work emails. Turn off your notifications and give your brain a break until tomorrow.
Step 7. Work through motivation slumps.
It's a tough time for everyone, and we're all feeling more anxiety. You or people you know may be ill, and you may have childcare duties that aren't usually part of your usual workday. Be forgiving with yourself if you're not feeling motivated, but set timers for to block off periods of concentration, or take a walk if you need to get past a mental block. It’s okay to have less productive days, but dial in on the reason why and try to come back the next day with fresh creativity.