Hey you! Yes you – in the limp dressing gown and unsavoury underwear, eating a five-section snack while Breaking Bad “plays in the background”. This is not working from home. This is a waste of life. It’s time to shape up, so here are five common working from home mistakes and how to avoid them…
1. Not having a desk
There are two types of getting busy: one happens at a desk, the other in a bed. For the love of cod do not confuse the two.
It can be hard, when you live in a shared house and don’t have much room, to give yourself a dedicated workspace, but by god it’s worth it. A desk doesn’t have to be massive or expensive (I spent a year working off an old door on some blocks) but it does need to feel separate from your soft, sleeping, romancing areas.
Working in your bed can also give you insomnia and will certainly encourage you to nap.
If you’re looking for desk space, check out our Creative Space scheme.
2. Taking “breaks” at your computer
When you work from home it can be difficult, nay impossible, to differentiate between working and sitting at your computer or desk. So, next time you take a break, stand up and move somewhere different, preferably outside. Do not go on Facebook. Don’t check Twitter. Don’t scour eBay or check your rating on Hot or Not. Just stand up and walk away. That way, when you come back to what you were doing, it will feel like a decision, not an ever-shifting slide from work to dicking about and back again.
3. Not keeping normal office hours
Unless you’re working for a client living in another time zone, it’s really not a good idea to turn nocturnal, even if in theory you can. Receiving an email from a freelancer at 2am and then not being able to get hold of them until lunchtime doesn’t shout professionalism and can be exceptionally annoying.
If you do work better out of office hours (that magical combination of total silence, no daylight and hysterical tiredness) then make sure you’re not annoying your housemates and that you’re still making time to see your 9-5 friends.
Procrastinating at home is approximately 5,768% easier than at the office. I should know – I once got a verbal warning for asking waiting customers to help me finish the quick crossword.
Unless you have the willpower of a boulder, do not have the television on in the background, do not work in the kitchen while people are cooking or eating, do not work in the park, do not clean your room (you know, when you’re meant to be working) and if things get serious, block the internet with Mac Freedom.
5. Having meetings in your house
Are you kidding me? You’re going to invite a client to your house? To talk bidness? Don’t be a chump – this is what cafes were invented for.
And one more for luck…
Don’t forget that you can write off a percentage of your rent and bills as expenses on your Tax Return! For lots more lovely tax facts, check out our Freelancing and HRMC article.
Back to "normality" - 10/365 by tranchis via Flickr under a (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license.
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