How To Work at Home
How To Work At Home In New York City
Working from home can be a blessing in flexibility, comfort, and personal well-being. Being able to manage your own schedule, save time on your commute, and enjoy the comforts of home is a major plus. But when you’re working from home on a regular basis, you can quickly become isolated or feel out of the loop on company projects or culture if you’re working for a traditional corporation. For freelancers, you can feel like you’re out here on your own, and the grind can become monotonous or overwhelming. As someone who works from home, it’s important to balance your day and to set yourself up for success by getting in good habits. Here’s how to work at home and maximize your productivity, whether you’re working from home once per week or every day:
Design Your Workspace
When you work from home, especially in a small apartment in New York City, you can quickly get distracted by the TV, couch, and your bed in close proximity. Avoid the temptation to work in the most comfortable or entertaining space in your home. You’ll quickly how to work at home by separating your spaces for work and relaxation, allowing you to stay productive and lower stress.
Set up a desk or work station. This can be as simple as getting in the habit of working at the breakfast bar or dining room table. Creating a separate space also helps avoid stressful associations. When you’re constantly checking your email from bed or the couch, you can build up negative feelings over time to the spaces in your home that are supposed to be bringing you joy. Institute a strict “no email or work” rules in some places in your home to prevent unneeded stress.
Clutter Free Workspace
Get unneeded items out of your home to help reduce your stress and have less distraction when working. You don’t even need to leave your home to declutter your space. Try a solution like Simplify Valet Storage, a service available to all five boroughs of NYC that comes directly to your home or office to pick up your item for storage. Then, your possessions are stored in a climate controlled, secure facility until you’re ready to have them back. Simply schedule a pickup and drop-off, and that’s it! Get a quote today.
Set a Schedule
Just because the rest of the world operates on a 9-5 schedule doesn’t mean you need to do the same. However, you should still have set times to work and to relax. It’s inevitable that things might come up outside of your business day, but keeping as much of your email checking and in designated times can work wonders to avoid burnout.
If you’re not required to have a specific schedule, figure out when you’re naturally most productive, and design your life around those times. Especially for freelancers, you might be more productive from 3 – 7 pm every day. Designate these productive times into your working hours, and give yourself the freedom to sleep in. Do what you need to be productive, but try to keep these conditions consistent to create a work-life balance.
Change It Up
However, sometimes a routine can become a burden. Change it up by going to a coffee shop for the day or taking a weekday trip to a new city. Burnout is an acute threat to everyone’s health and wellness in today’s working environment because many are required to put in more than 40 hours or have several jobs to keep the lights on in an expensive city like New York.
If you’re not tied to your home or office, having new scenery can refresh your mindset and renew your focus. These types of exercises work wonders for creativity, so get out of your home when you need to.
Communicate On Your Terms
It can be difficult to be productive when you’re receiving a constant stream of email communication. There are several apps, extensions, and features on the market that can help streamline your everyday workflow. For example, try using the VIP features on your Apple device for email senders. If you want to be alerted immediately after receiving messages from select people, like your CEO or direct supervisor, set these people as VIPs for a push notification.
The Google Chrome extension Boomerang allows you to schedule emails, send a pre-composed follow up if your email goes unanswered, get reminders, and receive read-receipts in Gmail. It also allows you to pause your email notifications when you’re in the groove. This tool can even scan your emails for characteristics, like readability, and likelihood for receiving a response.
Find your own way to organize your workflow if one’s not provided to you. If the company you’re working for doesn’t have a strong task management system or you’re freelancing, use an inexpensive system like Trello, Google Calendar tasks, or a paper planner to keep yourself on the right track. But don’t let your organization system take up too much time. Why simply think about when to get your work done if you can just knock out a project in that same amount of time? Finding the right balance between organizing and getting the work done is a key to managing your schedule.
If you are among the few people working remove, and the majority of your company is in the office at the same location, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the group. If appropriate, add your coworkers on LinkedIn and other social media to get a feel for their personality outside of the workplace. In addition, see if your company is able to schedule yearly or quarterly in-office visits for you to maintain important connections with your fellow coworkers.
For freelancers, it’s important to find a support system of those who also own their own businesses. When it comes time to form an LLC, do taxes, and negotiate rates on projects, having a network of other freelancers who can help you navigate the complex business environment is essential for success. Try a coworking space, like Bond Collective to meet other freelancers and small business owners.