If you tell somebody with a 9-to-5 office job that you work from home, they will usually go green with envy. They assume it’s all a big skive, and they hear the word ‘home’ rather than the word ‘work’.
Of course, there are obvious advantages to working at home, but many people find it a surprisingly difficult and isolating experience. It can also be a stressful one in that your work and home life are coming together at the same time.
If you’re planning to make money from writing, you’ll be spending a lot of time working from home, so how can you make sure you’re doing this while preserving your sanity? Here are some suggestions:
1. Don’t stay in all day
If you work a full day from home, it’s quite possible you’ll wake up in the morning and go to bed at night without leaving the house all day. To avoid ‘cabin fever’, make sure you at least venture into the outdoors. Some people like to go for a walk or run before they start, or maybe you’d prefer a trip to the shops afterwards.
2. Treat it like ‘going to work’
Don’t get into a habit of rolling out of bed and over to your desk, then starting work in your pyjamas. Get up, have a shower and get dressed. For most jobs, turning up at work semi-naked is not acceptable, so give your home-based work the respect it deserves – you’ll feel more confident and alert!
3. Keep your workspace tidy
As working from home sees our work and home lives intertwine, it can mean that the messiness of our homes can drift into the workplace. If you use the same computer for work and leisure, you might have a partner, family member or other housemate who is using it for a Football Manager all-nighter. Before you know it, you’re turning up at work with a desk littered with pizza boxes, crisps and soft drink cans.
The ideal situation is for you to have your own home office, but if this isn’t possible, be clear with your fellow occupants that you need the desk to be tidy.
4. Make people aware of your hours
Again, the key word in the phrase ‘work from home’ is ‘work’, not ‘home’. Some friends or family members assume that since you’re at home anyway, it will be fine to pop round for a cuppa and a chat, or they’ll shout “since you’re in anyway, can you do this?”
If you were in an office or other workplace away from home, you wouldn’t be around for chats or odd-jobs around the house, so working from home should be the same. Be polite but firm with people that you’re not to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.
5. Avoid raiding the fridge
With it just being a short walk away and there being nobody around to keep an eye on you, it’s tempting to make regular trips to the fridge and back, or to make constant cups of tea or coffee. Not only is this not great for your productivity, but it’s bad for your diet and physical health too.
Have a proper breakfast so that you’re not hungry during the morning, and plan out your breaks. It’s a good idea to take a bottle of water to your desk with you to stay hydrated, and because the body can sometimes mistake thirst for hunger.
If you’re all set up to work from home as a writer, try our Freelance Writing for Businesses or Business Blogging for Beginners diploma courses for expert advice on how to turn writing from a hobby into a profession.