With full-time freelancing and working remote becoming more and more commonplace there are a number of things one should consider before working out of your home. You may be able to account for some of those things by talking with others before going out on your own, but ultimately everyone’s different and what is a pain point for others may not be for you and vice versa.
It’s also easy to not feel these things when you first start working out of the house as you’ll more than likely have the exhilaration of not having a daily commute, starting your own company or the overall feeling you get when something’s new. But give it a few months for the novelty to wear off. That’s when you’ll find out what things get to you and what doesn’t. I began freelancing full-time a little over a year ago and before that I worked remotely with a company whose office was in NYC for a couple years. Below are a few things I’ve learned working out of the house.
In life, there’s a certain cadence to everything. Nature. Work. Business. All of it. And there will be times when you have days, sometimes weeks, where you have very little to do. And this is usually a bigger test of if you can cope with working at home or not because things get rather lonely when you don’t have much going on at work and it’s just you.
When that does happen there’s one thing you can always focus on, you. If you’re a freelancer, go look for new customers. Update your website with new work. If you work remotely for a company. See if there’s any training you can do for upcoming work. Or brush up on some skills that you’ve been meaning to.
One of the biggest emotions you’ll have to deal with is the feeling of loneliness. This is because it’s just you. This is especially true with the point above because you don’t have work to keep you occupied and even more so if it’s been a longer stint of little/no work. You don’t have the office water cooler to wander over to to chat with co-workers. Going out to lunch with co-workers isn’t a possibility. There are, however, a couple things you can do not being in a traditional office setting.
Take the afternoon, or even day, off. Take care of that to-do list that you’ve been meaning to get to. Get outside and hit up a local park. Or maybe go see that new movie that just hit theaters. Sometimes when things get slow for a while it’s good to get away from your desk for a short while.
Another thing I’ve found helpful for when things get lonely is having a membership to a co-working space in town. It gives you the option of twiddling your thumbs around people vs. by yourself at home. This may also open up the door to building relationships with others. If you’re a freelancer, it may open up doors to new projects/work. If you’re a remote worker, it helps replace the typical office environment.
Regardless if you’re full-time freelance or working remote for a company. Working out of the house will require you to take on an additional hat or two. Whether you like it or not.
Project management is a guaranteed with both. You aren’t in an office where someone can swing by your desk to see where you’re at on a project, if you have any questions, etc. It’s all up to you to keep yourself on track with the projects you have and you’ll need to find out any missing information on your own.
Educating others on your discipline is another. Sometime you may have a member on your team who may not have experience with what you do or think they do, but don’t. When that is the case, you’ll need to educate them on how to do things and how to do them properly.
Yeah, it’s nice you can set your own schedule throughout the day. You can work in your pajamas and not take a shower til 3 P.M. You can work from anywhere you want. But always having a varying schedule will ultimately cause issues with either your work, getting things done, etc. Here are a couple things to help combat that.
Wake up at a normal morning hour and have a routine to get you going. Having one will jump start you’re day as you just won’t roll out of bed and get to work. I typically wake up around 7:30/8 A.M., do my morning stretches, have breakfast and shower. Another thing you can do is have set points through out your day.
Some would be having a set block of time set aside for lunch and a set quitting time. These are important because 1.) lunch gives you a break during the middle of the day and reset if it’s been a busy day so far and 2.) having a set quitting time gives you a set point to have your work wrapped up for the day. Quitting time is probably most important. Whether you have kids, other commitments or the like. You don’t need to be working through the wee hours of the night. The work you have will be there tomorrow.
With working out of your home, it gives you the chance to work from anywhere, but having a set space that’s dedicated to work is the best thing you can do. Plus you can deduct any space you use at the end of the year on taxes.
Whether that would be an extra bedroom, a corner of your basement or living room. Have something that’s set purely for work. Having a dedicated workspace solely for work will help you get in the mindset of being at work. You could work from your kitchen table, living room couch or even your bed. The only thing is these spaces aren’t solely for work and it’ll be harder to concentrate and get things done.
So whether you’re going out on your own to start your own freelancing business or you accepted a remote position with a company that results in you working out of your home. These are just a few things to consider when doing so. But in the end, you’ll be more successful doing so if you’re able to recognize when things give you trouble and remedy them.