Ah, working from a home office. It sounds so…. relaxing.
And it can be. But, sometimes it can feel like drudgery, if we don’t treat ourselves well.
What are some of the best ways to make working from your home office more enjoyable? Here are nine of mine:
1. Make sure you have the right equipment.
When you work from home, there should be no difference in professionalism. This means you need a computer, of course. You’ll also need high-speed Internet service and a router. You may need a printer. For calls or virtual meetings, a headset with a retractable mic can help you stay connected while keeping your hands free.
Not an expert at these things? Do some research or ask for help. Bottom line, get yourself set up so that no one can ever complain that because you work from home, it affected the quality of what you delivered.
2. Make your environment more inviting.
Make your home office welcoming. Put some fresh flowers or a plant on your desk. Buy yourself a nice pen. Even a comfortable chair that supports you ergonomically can make a difference.
Move your desk so you can have a better view out of the window, if needed. Make it somewhere you want to be.
3. Get out of it once in a while.
While working from home can be all you thought it would be, it can also be a trap.
Spend too much time in your home office, and you may just find yourself uninspired, unmotivated and, well, even depressed.
Plan to get out occasionally. Attend an industry luncheon. Meet a friend for coffee. Take a walk. Just get out of the office, at least for a little while. Taking a break is good for you. And seeing other people is important for your mental well-being.
4. Sit in different locations.
Yes, you should have a designated workspace if you work from home. But that doesn’t mean you always have to sit there and only there.
We all have laptops these days, so why not move around occasionally? Sit at the dining table. Sit on the porch. Work from another room. It can help spur your creative juices to have a different view.
5. Stock your kitchen with the good stuff.
Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have nice things.
Buy the coffee you love—and splurge on that “fancy” creamer. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Stow away a few treats for Friday afternoon. Chocolate, anyone?
And if you feel guilty about it, just remember that if you worked in an office, your employer would be supplying all these things – so why shouldn’t you have them, too? And anyway, you’re already saving money by working from home (about $4,000 on average), so don’t feel bad about treating yourself a little.
6. Music soothes the soul.
Working from home is so peaceful. But sometimes, it can get a little too quiet.
If you don’t already have a streaming music service, invest in one. Spotify or Apple Music can help break up the silence and make working from home more enjoyable. You can even take a dance break when your favorite song comes on – with no one watching.
7. Get a pet.
So you don’t have coworkers surrounding you when you work from a home office. That doesn’t mean you don’t need company.
Consider adopting a pet. A cat or dog that needs a home can make an ideal office buddy. When you need a stress break, your new friend will be there to confer with—or just to hang out.
8. Take advantage of apps.
Working on your own means you may have no human to help you with everyday tasks, like quick graphic design or proofreading an email or document. There are solutions.
Pablo is a free graphic design tool that helps you create social media graphics lickety-split. Grammarly is an editing tool that helps catch errors and enhance your writing. There are free versions of both.
9. Plan to connect to the outside world.
Say you need a break, but you can’t leave your home office. (Yes, there are those days.)
Twitter chats can provide a respite by connecting you in real-time with others in your field. You can learn something, make new friends and have some fun.
You'll find Michelle Garrett at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. A true mompreneur, Michelle launched her consulting business so she could better balance work with motherhood. She’s a public relations consultant, blogger, speaker and award-winning writer whose articles and advice have been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Muck Rack, Ragan’s PR Daily, Spin Sucks, CIO, Meltwater and Freelancers Union.