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An increasing number of people are turning to freelance careers which often means working from home.
Journalists, marketing professionals, surveyors, photographers – the list goes on and while it saves sitting on a busy bus and taking part in water cooler conversations, to get it right you need to set yourself boundaries.
We have looked at some of the fundamental rules of home working to keep you on track so you can get the work done and strike a balance.
Dress for the job
It’s easy to sit working in your PJs but it won’t make you feel as professional as you do if you are up, showered and dressed. Answering the door to the postman in a nightie isn’t ideal and if you are just in a vest and pants when your client calls on Skype out of the blue, it could be embarrassing.
Find you place
The same goes for sitting in front of the TV with your laptop and the dog. Get a decent desk and chair, make sure you have good lighting and ‘go pro’ in a designated work space or office, if you have the room.
Structure your day
Create a timetable for work just as you would in the office. Writing and calls in the mornings, meetings over lunch and the admin and accounts later in the day. If you have a structure to your days, it will help keep you focused and productive.
Get some exercise
Going out for a walk, having a cycle or taking a yoga class will get you away from your desk and take away and feelings of claustrophobia that can come with working from home. It is good to get fresh air, a little Vitamin D and feel the blood pumping around your body as your heart rate goes up – something that won’t happen while you sit at your desk.
Step away from social media
As tempting as it can be, leave social media behind while you work, taking it off your toolbar and mobile if need be. You might only mean to have a browse and before you know it you have been sucked in and lost an hour of your day.
Being at home doesn’t mean you have to snack all day long. Hide the biscuits and chocolate, get healthy snacks, drink lots of water, don’t over do it on the coffee and don’t be tempted to raid the fridge when you are feeling bored.
Take a break
However much you love your job, make sure you take breaks during the day. Step away from the computer from time to time, do some stretches and remember to stop for lunch each day.
We don’t mean spend all day with family and friends, they need to know you are working not around for coffee and errands, but you do need to socialise. Maybe use a co-working space once a week, go to networking events or even meet clients and suppliers face to face to ensure you get some human interaction.
Book time off
Whether it’s a long weekend by the sea, a city break with the girls or two weeks in the sunshine, make sure you go on holiday. Allocate yourself a certain number of days a year, spread those wisely and don’t feel bad about putting your out of office on – you deserve a rest.