Whether you’re a full-time freelancer or you occasionally bring your office work home, there are certain factors you should keep in mind. Before you turn on your computer, launch your applications, and start tackling your work at hand, bear these considerations.
Your mind should be free from distraction
Accomplishing tasks is much easier when you’re in an office environment, at the library, or posted up at your favorite coffee store. When you work from home, you’re tempted by every distraction in eyesight or ear shot. That pile of laundry. Those dishes you haven’t gotten to. The phone at your side. All those home gadgets you’ve been dying to play with… all these things give you a “reason” to procrastinate what you should be doing in favor of what you could be doing.
You don’t necessarily need a home office to work remotely, although they areincredibly helpful in terms of productivity. What you do need is a dedicated space—clean, free of clutter, and away from chaos—to knock out everything on your to-do list. This could be on your kitchen counter, dining room table, outdoor patio, or wherever else you can find space.
Note: Avoid working in bed or on the couch as much as possible; being curled up and cozy will promote laziness, and it’ll also make sleep more difficult by confusing your brain.
The important thing is to establish a distraction-free zone that, when entered, you know it’s time to shut out everything else and get to work. That’s easier said than done, of course, so if you can’t find some solitude, pick up a pair of noise-cancelling headphones to drown out the surrounding commotion.
Your time management should be on point
This feeds into the points above regarding distraction and productivity, but time management deserves a category of its own. If you’re working from home, chances are that you have a lot on your plate. Freelancers typically have multiple clients with multiple projects (and corresponding deadlines). Overwhelmed employees take their work home with them because there’s simply not enough time in the day to get everything done.
Whatever your situation might be, stay on top of it. Know when it needs to be completed by and schedule your calendar accordingly. That said, remember the importance of work/life balance and don’t spend every evening burning the midnight oil. Take advantage of the online resources available to you and always remember to work smarter, not harder.
Your tech should be up to the task
Working at home might not be easy but it should be as expedient as possible. Getting yourself into the right mindset is step one; step two is ensuring you have the necessary equipment to efficiently accomplish all your tasks at hand.
If you work at home on a regular basis, then you should invest in one of the best desktop computers; they tend to have larger storage capacity and greater processing speeds. But there are plenty of powerful laptops that can seamlessly run multiple applications at the same time, while also offering mobile capability. Explore your options and choose what’s right for your needs, but don’t settle on too little RAM—unless you want to pull your hair out each time your computer crashes.
Your data should be secure
It doesn’t matter which computer model you choose; keeping your data secure is paramount when working remotely. As you shop for trustworthy tech, explore a SAS vs SATA connector, hard drive disk or solid state drive, BIOS security features, and two-step authentication possibility.
You don’t need to be working with ultra-sensitive information to prioritize data security. Even if you’re just shopping online, your personal details, financial records, login credentials, Social Security Number and more can wind up in the wrong hands unless you’re careful.
Phishing schemes and malware attacks (such as viruses, Trojans, and worms) are the most common cyber security threats, but hackers will find plenty of ways to infiltrate your network—especially if they know that you work with valuable information. Avoiding computing over public Wifi, if possible, because those connections are far less secure. When you need to work remotely at an airport terminal or transit station, you should do so over a safe VPN to maximize security.
Keep these factors in mind when working at home and you’ll be set up for success at every corner.