Four Work From Home Essentials
Today I'm partnering with TELUS to share a few of my 'work from home essentials'. I've actually worked from home for many years of my working career and there are definitely a few lessons I've learned and tips I've picked up along the way. So, let's get right into it shall we....
1. Lots of Coffee (Ha!)
Okay so for this first one I kid, (sort of) - but what do you need is motivation. For me, coffee = motivation booster so the connection was a natural one ;)
When you're working from home you generally don't have anyone else to answer to. There's nobody standing over your desk making sure you're being productive with your time rather than watching Facebook videos all day, there's no boss or manager to make sure you don't take an extra long lunch or too many coffee breaks and you are in charge of setting your own schedule for the day. This freedom can be a wonderful thing but it also means that finding your motivation and staying disciplined is SO necessary. I happen to be a big lists person so to help keep me on track every day I have a list of tasks to get done and keep me on track. Having flexibility in your schedule and work environment is great in so many ways but it means that keeping yourself motivated and organized is crucial so I use google docs, spreadsheets and calendars all online to schedule my days and keep track of my tasks at hand. For tracking and timing my daily tasks to making sure I'm not running over my time allowances I'm also a big fan of my time cube (read more on that here!).
So as I mentioned above I am a big fan of using online organizers and calendars. In addition to my organizational systems basically every element of my business requires me to have online access and I can't afford to be without internet or have a slow or unreliable connection. As soon as James and I moved into this house we set up our service with TELUS and haven't looked back since!
Fortunately for us we were able to get set up with TELUS' PureFibre network which means that we're able to take advantage of the fastest internet technology (YES to that!!). While I'm not the most tech savvy individual, having the fastest internet was very important to me which is why we love Telus! To beak it down into simple terms, TELUS is currently building Western Canada's fastest internet network using a direct 100% fibre optic connection. Fibre optic never degrades which means your service is reliably always fast and consistent. You can check to see if it's available where you live here!
With next generation internet, rather than having the internet delivered on copper wiring (which has it's limitations), with PureFibre, the speeds are waaay faster because of the new and more advanced technology. When you think about how many devices in your home run on the internet, it makes sense that the system that delivers that internet needs to be able to supply those demands. So, opting for the most reliable and fastest option makes the most sense; not to mention internet that's consistent no matter the time of day, whether you're downloading large files or buffering or, no matter how many devices you're running at once!
Because my job involves so much work online it was pretty much priority #1 to make sure we had the fastest internet available to us right from day one. If you work from home, chances are that your work likely revolves around needing online access that's fast and reliable as well.
3. A Clear and Organized Workspace
The next work from home essential is to have a clear and organized workspace. As I mentioned above organization is KEY when you're working from home. It's very easy to have your work life spill over into your personal space and vice versa. This is definitely something I struggle with especially with so many interior design samples coming and going from my home office all the time, not to mention blog packages arriving almost daily! There are times when my office is very organized and under control and others when unfortunately it's not the case but no matter what I always make sure I have a clear desk or table space to work from. Having a clear surface to be able to sit at and work without distractions is an absolute must if you work from home. So if you don't have a fully dedicated office or room, don't sweat it! All you need is a small desk or table that you can clear to create a clutter free (or as close to clutter free as you're able!) space to sit at and stay focussed!
4. Boundaries (AKA break time + 'office hours')
My last work from home essential is a piece of advice - set some boundaries. Now this tip is a more of a 'do as I say, not as I always do' kind of tip because truthfully, it's something I still struggle with. When you work from home it can be very difficult to 'turn it off' at the end of the day. When your workspace is only a few steps away at most times it can be tempting to continue working well into the evening. Setting 'office hours' is a great piece of advice that I was given years ago but that I only now am starting to follow. And, this goes both ways. My struggle has always been shutting work off on evenings and weekends (which I've mentioned on here several times before) but I now am realizing I need to set stronger boundaries with friends and family during 'work hours' as well. Having the flexibility to schedule a Tuesday at 10am brunch date with your friends or family is very convenient but with every hour you take away from your M-F work hours, you need to make up for that elsewhere. I think that it is absolutely essential to set yourself mid day lunch and coffee breaks and try to set a start and finish time for your day so that you don't burn out (take it from this girl who learned that the hard way) but it's also okay to let the people in your life know that just because you work from home, that doesn't mean they can call you in the middle of the work day to talk on the phone for an hour. It can take a bit of time to learn these boundaries but trust me, they're oh-so important!
Working from home comes with so many benefits but also a very unique set of challenges and these tips above have helped me and are continuing to help me as I navigate the world of self employment and working from home. Do you work from home? If so, what are some of the essential tips or resources you use to get through your work days as efficiently as possible? Let me know in the comments below!
This post was made in partnership with TELUS. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I've been a TELUS customer for years and am thrilled that through this blog I'm able to partner with brands and businesses that I truly love. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog, without them I wouldn't be able to do what I love!