Stay Motivated Working from Home
Taking work home or using your house as a home ‘office’ has become for many, the new norm. Home-working is no longer just the domain of the self-employed, as employers are recognising the cost benefits of remote and flexible working practices including enhanced productivity, greater reliability and increased staff loyalty.
In these challenging times, businesses are looking for ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Supporting home enterprise makes sense because it delivers both by decreasing the office space overhead, whilst increasing employee output who, research suggests, have a better work-life balance, waste less time and money on travel, are more productive and also ‘greener’.
As always however, there are risks as well as benefits. If you’re familiar with working from home, from being self-employed or telecommuting, you’ll also be familiar with the temptations of procrastination or getting side tracked. Self-motivation is underestimated and many people simply aren’t suited to remote-working, as they find the loneliness a challenge and miss the buzz and camaraderie of an office environment.
I have learned over the years how best to operate from home and now run coaching courses and offer bespoke career development for individuals and businesses across a range of sectors where they are looking to set up homeworkers. Here are my tips for staying motivated and making sure you really keep that professional image intact when ‘home alone’.
Separate Work from Play
Where possible, it’s best to have a room or space dedicated to working which means you create an inner-sanctum purely for business and leave the rest of the house as your home environment. This is not always possible, especially for those living in smaller studio size apartments or flats, but you can still dedicate the corner of a room for business by screening it off or setting up a small workstation.
Ditch the Sloppies
I’m a firm believer in dressing right for work, because it sets your intention for the day ahead and creates the right mind set. Being properly dressed mentally prepares you and success is 100% a mental state. Although your customers can’t see you it makes a massive difference when you look the part – to how you relate, to your communication, to your performance, and therefore the outcome.
Schedule it right
Setting a good work routine is vital because it offers an activity framework detailing the vital ingredients essential for success. Keep it simple and disciplined because a lack of discipline creates a downward spiral of wasted energy, wasted opportunity, inactivity and guilt about that extra hour in bed/trip to supermarket/hour watching TV….
Exercise early to kick start your metabolism then have a healthy breakfast as you mentally plan your day.
Drink a few pints of filtered water a day or herbal tea to stay hydrated and energised.
Ditch the distractions
Music, TV, the radio, all these are distractions and will influence your mood. Personally I don’t have a TV anywhere near my work zone, though some instrumental or background music without lyrics can be inspiring and lift your mood so it’s all about personal preferences.
Create an inspiring environment
Decorate your zone! Flowers, pictures, family portraits, calendars. Add a mood board with quotes and images that inspire. Essential oils can have a positive effect on mood and can even lower stress on the days when you feel as though you are trying to “knit fog”. Keep your work area tidy and organise your desk every night before finishing, so a clear space greets you the next day.
Manage your posture
You will spend a lot of time at your workstation, so pay attention to how it is set up, as slouching can damage your posture and even create long term damage. It’s worth spending money on a decent chair and table, or even investing in one of those stand-up workstations. I’ve used a standing desk for almost two years now and find it so much more energising.
Find a mentor
Having someone to speak to other than the cat or goldfish when you feel a tad uninspired is crucial. Find someone who is upbeat and positive and you’ll breathe in their inspiration. I think two mentors are required, a business mentor and also a personal mentor to help give you a new perspective when the going gets tough or when you are plagued with lack of motivation or self-doubt.
On that note, if you can’t find a mentor, be sure to get out of your zone and speak to new people, through networking (preferably face to face, not just online). There’s usually bags of networking events in your area as well as online networking groups (LinkedIn, Facebook, Skype etc.). Contacts are king and it’s always brilliant when someone else recommends your service.
It’s not the time you spend at your desk that counts, it’s how productive you are while you are there. Make sure to pencil in a mini break or two, for a mental declutter, or walk to the local shop or, have a bite of lunch and get some Vitamin D from the sun (Geordie summer permitting). You’d be amazed how refreshed you feel after a short break. This also gives you the opportunity to talk to others to avoid that sense of isolation which home-working can produce. Take a short 15 minute break whenever you get writer’s block, do something different as a ‘pattern interrupt’ then return full of vim and vigour.
Know when to stop
Set defined times when you’re going to work, and then, stop. When you close the office door at night mentally close the work door in your mind to prevent work dominating your life. If you work more than 5 or 6 hours on the trot you will lose focus, get restless and then your work quality and your output suffer. Change can sometimes be as good as a rest, so attack some admin tasks or accounts if you get a bit stuck on your main project.
Be grateful you are privileged enough not to have to do the daily commute or work in some clock-watching cubicle or cheerless office somewhere. Gratitude will motivate you to work harder, so you can continue to work from home.
Ready for success? Get the right tools before you start…
If you are an individual or an organisation considering the economic benefits of staff home-working, my ‘Enterprise Fitness Programme for Home Workers’ will get you or your staff ready for the leap into homeworking or self-employment. The change from working as part of a team surrounded by others, to establishing and building a self-motivating work ethic at home, in an environment normally used for relaxation and pleasure is both challenging and daunting.
My Business Gym package offers motivational training specifically geared to navigating and understanding the differences between the two working environments, including understanding the behavioural aspects of the journey and breaking down the barriers to change.
The packed content reviews how aspirations become reality, how the highs and lows FEEL rather than focusing solely on the more formal process of business planning and operation. This ensures a higher degree of confidence, satisfaction, tenacity and ultimately success.
The whole approach represents a step change in the introduction of small business enterprise, since the focus is on the person. It will inform, involve and inspire those who attend.
Three core elements are covered:-
1. Group workshops
2. Regular Webinar – punchy and motivational
3. One to One Coaching (initially monthly then at quarterly intervals to maintain support)
For more information please contact me for a comprehensive itinerary and costs. Individual and group rates apply.
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