Working from home is a great option for those of us who don’t work well amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy office.
Even with all the great benefits, there often comes a time when you need to pick up your laptop and get out of the house.
But without an office to go to, you might be wondering where to go and we are here to help you solve that dilemma.
What to Expect When You Work From Home
Working from Home at Your Favorite Coffee Shop
A coffee shop makes a great alternative work space because it’s somewhere you can be around other people but not be bothered by them.
Being around other people can also help stimulate creativity and ideas in some people.
Most coffee houses have Internet access readily available, but they don’t come with coworkers asking questions or bosses hovering over your shoulder.
Even if you’re not a fan of that particular coffee conglomerate, most cities have local shops with Internet access too.
Community Work Spaces
Some cities have community work spaces, and they are becoming more common across the country.
These work spaces are available for rent by the day, week, or month, and they allow you to recreate an office environment, but with people who aren’t your coworkers.
You get the office setting without actually being in one.
Theses shared work spaces are wonderful resources for entrepreneurs who crave a buzzy environment and noise while they work, but who don’t want to interact with others unless they choose to.
And if you’re looking for an outside perspective or a group to bounce ideas off of, many have setups where you can do this as well.
Working from Home at The Local Library
Libraries are great places to work remotely because they have everything you need.
In fact, 90 percent of public libraries provide free Internet access to local residents and sometimes guests.
Libraries also have tables, chairs, and rooms to work alone in.
Most importantly, libraries are generally viewed as quiet areas.
You can go to the library, find a desk, and hunker down for hours of work without dozens of people chatting around you.
If you choose to go this route, be aware that around 41 percent of libraries don’t have Internet speeds fast enough to meet their patrons’ needs.
However, this can be a good thing.
This will help you avoid losing time to YouTube videos and social media when you should be working.
It can be hard to be stuck inside on a beautiful day, especially if you’re in a position to work from wherever you want.
Don’t let work stop you from enjoying a good breeze.
If your phone doubles as a hotspot, or if you own a Mi-Fi device, hook them up to your laptop and choose a nice spot in the park to settle down.
Research shows that people are less happy with their jobs when it’s sunny out.
To combat this, get out and enjoy that sun, along with all the happenings going on around you.
Find a park bench and soak up some Vitamin D while you type away on your keyboard.
Just remember to stop and listen to the birds.
It turns out nature actually inspires us to be more creative.
One-size-fits-all solution to work remotely
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for where to work remotely.
In fact, the best idea might be mixing it up.
Choose to spend a couple of days working out of the library and another at the coffee shop.
Or you can mix them up in the same day.
Rent out a shared work space for a Monday morning and then head to the park in the afternoon.
A change of scenery throughout the day might help inspire creativity.
Due to the nature of having the home and work space in the same area, remote workers often struggle to maintain a proper work-life balance due to lack of boundaries.
Working out of the home can help you achieve this by separating the two on a more consistent basis.
Take time to try different areas and choose the one, or ones, that work best for you.
If you prefer a more secluded, quiet setting the library might be a great place for you.
If you’re the type who likes to simulate an office environment, you might do best in a community work space.
Spend some time exploring your town and seek out new and effective rural living places you might feel comfortable working and give them a shot.
The In-Office and Work from Home Balance
For many people, working from home is a dream come true.
It means more flexibility in your schedule, fewer distractions while you power through projects, and less overall stress in life thanks to the peace and quiet of solitude.
However, there are benefits to working in an office and being surrounded by coworkers, including the process of collaborative brainstorming, the rivalries that fuel you to perform, and the simple pleasure of socialization.
If you’ve been in either of these environments exclusively, and are now transitioning to having a hybrid work environment, there is a lot to consider to making sure you balance these two worlds.
Work from Home Balance Face-to-Face Interaction
There really is no substitute for face-to-face conversations and, when you work in an office filled with peers, this happens all the time.
Whether you’re in the conference room for a big meeting or you bump into a coworker by the coffee machine, you’re always talking to people at work.
But when you’re at home, you have to proactively reach out to achieve meaningful contact with coworkers or clients.
Thanks to video conferencing and screen sharing software, it’s easier to get the same experience when you’re home.
To make this as effective as possible, make sure your home Internet speed can stream that much data.
Make sure to regularly conduct Internet speed tests before planning a teleconference session, as it’s frustrating, embarrassing, and ineffective to have to deal with technical difficulties while trying to be professional.
Important Resources for Work from Home Balance
Your chair (or couch) at home may be more comfortable than the one you have at the office, but what about the rest of the equipment you use?
If you’re going to be working from both locations throughout the week, check with your manager to see if you can have a company laptop to use.
This way, all of your information is stored in one place and you don’t have to use your personal items for professional purposes.
Also, if you can, plan to print things when you’re in the office so you can use the high-quality printer in your copy room.
This way you don’t use the ink you buy on your own dime for company purposes and you’ll likely get a higher quality product on the office printer anyway.
In most offices, even a diehard workaholic can’t spend time at the office after business hours, and that’s probably a good thing.
It’s important to maintain a good balance between your work and personal life.
If you’re working from home, make sure you set a schedule for yourself so you don’t have a 15-hour workday or a 5-hour workday either.
You also don’t want to be working at all hours, nor do you want to spend the majority of your day watching TV or doing laundry.
It can be a larger challenge to get motivated when you’re working from home, so make sure you set a time you have to start on work materials.
Stay consistent with your hours and when it’s time to be done with work, be done.
Regardless of your work habits, as long as you have the motivation to get the job done, you’ll be better able to find a strong work-life balance.
Work from Home Balance Interruptions and Interactions
While meetings are great for getting ideas off the ground, many studies support the often-groaned sentiment that they’re not very productive.
And while chatting in the halls or over cubicle walls can be fun, it’s also not the way to get work done.
When you are working from home, especially when you are working on a complex project that will require a protracted period of time and effort, peace and quiet are simply better than the hum of an office.
If you are someone who thrives with more action around you, consider a coffee shop; no one will directly interrupt you as a coworker might.
There are a lot of benefits that come with working both from home and in an office throughout the week, so if you’re taking on a hybrid role, you’ll enjoy the benefits of both.
Make sure you keep your world balanced, so you get to enjoy all the benefits to the fullest.
What to Expect When You Work From Home
Opportunities to work from home are rapidly expanding, and that’s good news for people who want to enjoy the perks of rural living without sacrificing their careers.
A report by Global Workplace Analysis indicates telecommuting in the U.S. rose almost 80 percent from 2005 to 2012, and in a recent survey, 34 percent of business leaders said more than half their organization’s full-time workers will be working remotely by 2020.
Remote work opens doors for those who live in rural areas where good paying jobs, or jobs that fit their skills and experience are hard to come by.
For people who want to move from an urban or suburban environment to one of America’s best rural communities, working from home can make the transition possible.
With all the perks telecommuting offers, it takes a bit of getting used to.
Whether you’ve recently started telecommuting or you’re just thinking about it, here’s what to expect when working from home, and tips to help you succeed.
Work for a company that’s telecommuter friendly
Aligning yourself with a company that encourages and supports telecommuting is the first step toward establishing a rewarding virtual career.
Many companies that promote the fact that they offer flexible schedules may also very well allow telecommuting.
And even if they don’t, it doesn’t mean they won’t be willing to consider it.
Don’t be afraid to ask!
Tip: A few of the best work from home companies include Xerox, Humana, and About.com.
Separate work and living space
Working from the comfort of home is a major benefit of telecommuting, but because your work and personal space are no longer separate, it is also one of one of telecommuting’s greatest challenges.
Ask any veteran virtual worker and they will tell you that dedicated office space is essential to success as a telecommuter.
Tip: If you can’t find a quiet place to work at home, then consider relocating to a shared or collaborative workplace.
If your community doesn’t have a shared workplace, why not establish one?
Set your alarm earlier than you used to
When you work from home you could be tempted to sleep in and stay up late.
But studies have shown morning people are more proactive and productive than evening people.
So set your travel alarm an hour earlier than you used to and get a jump start on your day.
Hack – If you’re a night owl, try going to bed and getting up 15 minutes earlier than you typically would until you’re comfortably waking up an hour early.
Set boundaries, and abide by them
When you work virtually, it’s important to set parameters that help you establish and maintain a schedule.
Everyone’s lifestyle is different, but boundaries could include telling friends you can’t accept calls during the workday, or letting your employer know that Sunday is dedicated family time.
Time Tracking App Hack
Use a time tracking app to monitor how you spend your time and help you develop a healthy work-life balance.
Stay connected to colleagues
When you move from a traditional office to a virtual one, it’s not uncommon to experience feelings of isolation.
In fact, for many virtual workers, overcoming loneliness is one of the most challenging aspects of working from home.
To stay in the loop with your office bound coworkers, consider regularly scheduled video chats, instant message from time to time, and if possible, poke your head in the office and attend company events.
If your supervisor hasn’t talked with you about how you two will remain connected once you start working from home, discuss possible communication challenges (and solutions) before you start telecommuting.
Switching from a traditional office to a home office can be a bit overwhelming.
Use these hacks to make the transition smoother, and you’ll soon settle into a routine that works best for you and your lifestyle.