Looking for ideas of how to make working from home easier? Nicole Kofkin works hard to balance her business and personal life and knows how important it is have that balance. She started Smart Au Pairs to help families to access a convenient and affordable child care option so that they too can achieve balance. As a working mum, here are Nicole’s top 17 tips to make working from home easier.
Set up your home office – Have a suitable space, even if it is a desk in the lounge room, where you can work and can create an office space.
Get what you need technology-wise – If your work is online and you need good online access, invest in this. You don’t need frustrations as a result of a slow internet connection
Create a schedule – It is easy to be distracted when you are working from home because there are always chores to be done. Create a schedule so that you can allocate specific time for work, and know that the chores can be done in their allocated time slot.
Create a ‘to do’ list for each day – Start your day by giving thought to what needs to be achieved, especially if you find it difficult to focus on work.
Turn off your phone and (personal) social media when you are working – These can be distracting, but you will accomplish more work during your set hours if you focus on the tasks at hand and don’t have these distractions.
Take regular breaks – Sometimes mums who work from home stay closeted in their home office. It’s important to take regular breaks to give your mind a rest from what you are doing. It also helps you to work more effectively and efficiently.
Set boundaries for the people around you – Ensure that family members realise that you should not be disturbed when you are working so that you can accomplish what needs to be done.
Get help with caring for your children – If you don’t have a relative nearby, or want to consider other options, think about getting an au pair, who can help care for your children in your own home. This gives you that bit of extra time to focus on your business, while feeling the peace of mind that your kids being looked after in their familiar environment.
Make time for people – This is important when it comes to both family members and friends. Working from home can be isolating so it is important to make time to have coffee with a friend, attend a networking event, or spend time with your family.
Get out of the house – If you are feeling cooped up at home, but can’t escape from a work deadline, go and sit in the library or a coffee shop with your laptop. Sometimes being in a different environment breaks the monotony.
Be grateful – There are disadvantages to working from home, but there are also significant advantages. Be grateful that you don’t have to do the regular office commute or put up with office politics.
Enjoy the flexibility – Working from home enables you to be flexible; make the most of it. Do your shopping at midday during the week, if you are able to leave your work at that time. Spend an hour working on a Saturday, if that suits you better.
Take time for yourself – The time you spend working from home is not considered time for yourself! Ensure that you care for yourself and have some fun, and ‘me’ time.
Eat healthy foods– It’s tempting to avoid eating, and then grab unhealthy snacks when the hunger pangs come knocking, when you work from home. Focus on eating well, starting with breakfast. If you find this difficult, keep healthy snacks on hand so that you can nibble on those.
Find out about tax advantages of working from home – You might be able to claim certain expenses against your tax. Speak to an accountant to find out what might work best in your situation.
Delegate – Particularly when it comes to housework, think about who can help you to shoulder responsibilities. It may be your partner, you might use the services of a cleaner, or your au pair may perform some light housework, such as folding and putting away the kid’s clothes.
Give yourself credit – When the challenges of working from home and being a mum feel overwhelming, and you feel like you are battling to keep up with everything that needs to be done, take a deep breath and think about how far you have come.