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How to work successfully when your office is your home

Paystream News

Kerry Hull

Wednesday 29th Oct, 2014

Following the economic crisis, there has been a significant increase in the number of people choosing to work on a contract basis, with many limited company contractors now working from home.

This has been made possible thanks to advances in technology and a growing number of businesses adopting a more flexible approach, but how can a successful work-life balance be maintained when an individual is both working and spending their spare time in one single environment?

Keep things separate

When you are working from home you should make sure that you have a dedicated area of the house to conduct your work in. During the day, this should be a quiet, calm space, preferably with a door that is reasonably soundproof, while in the evening you should try not to spend any time in it so you are not distracted by work-related matters.

If possible separate computers should be used for business and leisure purposes, while having different phone numbers would also help to maintain a good work-life balance. You should try not to answer your non-business-related phone during the day, as this could lead to further distractions and wasted time that could have been spent on work.

When taking breaks, again it is important to try not to get too distracted by chores or other goings-on in the home, so it may be a good idea for you to eat your lunch at your desk.

Although this may seem like a slightly unpleasant prospect at first, it will help to keep the kitchen or dining room as a place for leisure time, while also preventing you from becoming distracted by other tasks that may need doing in these rooms.

Learn to switch off

You should set yourself a time that you are going to stop working each day - aside from when exceptional circumstances arise. Not only will this give you a structured end point and something to look forward to during duller days on the job, but it will also prevent you from getting too bogged down in work during the evenings.

If you have the same computer for both work and personal use, it can be tempting to check business emails and add to documents in the evenings or at weekends.

Therefore, it is best to have separate email accounts for both work and leisure and try avoid having any bookmarks in a browser that relate to work documents or other business resources.

Additionally, work phones should be switched off when working hours are over - it's time to down tools. This will help to reduce the temptation to spend leisure time doing work, further helping to improve your work-life balance.

At first, adjusting to a home work-life balance can be difficult, but following these tips should help you to make the adjustment a little easier.

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