Successful Home Working – How to Adapt from Office Life

Isn’t it everyone’s dream? home working

Working from home, no long morning commute, peace and quite and being on time for dinner every night.

It sounds idyllic, but for many it’s a culture shock too far.

So how do you successfully adapt from an office life to one working from home?

The office

Life in the office can be frustrating, political, competitive and noisy.

But having said that it’s a dynamic environment full of like minded people who you can bounce ideas off, have a laugh with and confide in.

Of course, the downside is that you have to be at your desk at a certain time and, at times, can feel pressured to be the last one to leave to show your dedication.

That’s why so many people want to work from home, but is it really so idyllic?

Working from home

I’ve been working from my home office for about 10 years now (in various roles, presently as a copywriter) and have learnt how to cope with the different pressures and difficulties home working throws at me.

1. Designated workspace

The most important aspect of successfully working from home is having your own dedicated workspace.

Using a room that has a double purpose (i.e. your office that’s also your kitchen/dining room/living room/spare room) is doomed to failure from the beginning.

You must have your own space that you can set up as a permanent office that feels separate to the rest of the house.

My office is downstairs. Its sole purpose is as an office so all my computers, papers and files are set up as I want them without having to clear everything away at the end of the day.

2. Schedule

Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep a regular work schedule.

OK, there’s no boss breathing down your neck if you’re not at your desk by 9am, but that doesn’t mean you can just drift in and out whenever you feel like it.

It’s important to structure your day as if you were at the office. Make sure you’re at your desk at the same time each day and finish on time. When working from home it’s very easy to be sucked into the ‘just 5 more minutes’ mentality that inevitably sees you still at your desk at 10 o’clock at night.

Have a set start and finish time. Although be prepared to be flexible, especially if you also have a family to think about.

3. Breaks

Without the chatter of colleagues and the lure of the staff room, it’s easy to sit at your desk in the morning and not move until you run out of steam in the afternoon.

Regular breaks are essential to keep your motivation and energy levels up. Get out for some fresh air, have a coffee with friends and make sure you take a lunch break. That way you’ll break up your day (just as you would in the office), you’ll get some fresh air and that much needed human contact.

4. Dress

No one can see you. There’s no boss to have a go at you. However, that doesn’t mean you should sit at your desk in your PJs.

I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that you don a suit when working from home (unless you really want to), but dress smartly to reinforce the fact that you’re at work.

5. I’m working!

Another thing to consider, especially if you live with someone else and/or have a family, is to get other members of the household to appreciate the fact that, although you’re at home, you’re working.

It’s very easy for people to think that because you’re at home you can also get the housework, washing and all manner of other household chores done because simply because you’re there.

It’s up to you to make sure they understand that you are working.

If you want to work from home can be isolating so it’s important that you chat with colleagues just as you would in the office, but on top of that, you must also be:

  • Disciplined
  • Motivated
  • Organised

Pretty much the same qualities you need in an office environment too, you just won’t have the boss breathing down your neck all the time.


Image courtesy of iconmac/FreeDigitalPhotos
Related Posts with Thumbnails


#1 Damien on 11.07.13 at 8:52 am

I find it really hard to stay disciplined when working from home. It’s really hard to define where work stops and family time starts do they often end up blending, which is far from ideal!

I’ve found it really useful to use some shared office space a couple of days per week. I’m a lot more productive when there because it’s a clearly defined work zone where I have to get stuff done.

Thanks for the tips, Sally. I’ll keep these in mind and try them on the days I am working from home.

#2 admin on 11.07.13 at 9:16 am

Hi Damien – working at home is really difficult, especially during the school holidays (and when my husband decides to work from home too), but the positives and the flexibility it offers far outweigh the cons. I guess for me, studying at home over a 6 year period for my BA(Hons) helped focus me (especially as my younger son hasn’t started school then) and helped me develop the motivation and discipline needed.

Leave a Comment