When you work from home, your home office is a space you’ll spend a lot of time in, so it’s important that it works for you. Whether you’re just starting out from home, or you need to renovate, you’ll need to make the space your own.
Renovating any room in your house can be quite a process, and it’s usually not inexpensive either. Read along for some of our tips for renovation on a budget!
Repurpose furniture with a fresh, new coat of paint, or utilize unused items from other rooms. Can that table behind the couch be used as a table for your printer? Take what you have a make it work!
You can take a boring chair, add some fabric, and make it new again. A little bit of paint or fabric can make a world of difference. If you have a sofa in your office, add some fresh pillows or a throw. You can also repurpose someone else’s disregarded items - look to antique or garage sales that feature desks, solid furniture, or any other items that can be spruced up with a minimal amount of work.
With sites such as Etsy, you can get a lot of artwork in a digital format. You can simply search for art prints that feature inspirational words, photos, art from other countries, and so on. There are truly an endless amount of options!
From here, you can print out the piece and have it framed, or purchase an inexpensive frame at a local store like Target or Michael’s. Digital, print-it-yourself art is typically much less expensive, and generally runs from $3-20 per piece on Etsy. Adding just a few prints will likely run you $30-100 total, and it can really change the vibe of the room.
Some items will just always be more expensive. A good, solid ergonomic office chair is a great place to spend money! A nice desk is also a place where quality is important, but you can also find good furniture at repurposed places, such as flea markets or garage sales.
You can really go “budget” on things such as office supplies. There are plenty of cute options out there that don’t break the bank!
Make a list of all the items needed for your renovation, and jot down where you can save, and where you’ll need to spend a little bit more. Once the major items are decided on, you’ll also have a better overall view of your renovation budget.
Start slow! You can start as small as adding a tiny plant - it can literally breathe fresh air into your space. Paint your walls one month and get a new desk the next. If you’re budgeting, earmark a small allowance each month (or every few months) to make the changes.
Creating a cozy home office doesn’t have to be expensive! Start slowly, be economical, and spend where you need to. In no time, you’ll have a space that reflects your taste and allows you to work in peace.
We often hear of work life balance, but how do we achieve it? Bridging the gap between work, family, relaxation and social time is a challenge in our busy world, but it’s crucial to quality of life.
According to Small Business Trends, “66 percent of full-time employees say they don’t strongly believe they have a work-life balance,” which is a huge figure. It’s important that we take the time to find a balance for better health and happiness.
The first step to work life balance is establishing what that looks like for you, along with what’s important in your life. If you say it’s family but spend all your time working, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities. If you’re truly in a time period when getting ahead at work is crucial, you may have less time for family and friends.
Finding a balance starts with what’s ideal for you. Is it important for you to have a few hours at night to do nothing? Do you need to be done working at a certain time to get to your child’s game? Lay out a perfect week that allows you to include those things that are non-negotiable.
For work life balance to be successful, you must manage your time! It’s easy to get distracted during work and outside of work, and that cuts down on the time you have left for you. Break down your work tasks by time, and always leave room for breaks and downtime.
When you know where your time is going, you’re better able to re-adjust as needed. Take inventory of where your time is spent, and take steps to rearrange some things if needed.
So you don’t always feel like you’re in work mode, staying social is key! Make time for your friends and family, even if work is your current priority. You can still take some time out of your days or weeks to see friends and family.
This is a great way to recharge your batteries, see where your priorities lie, and strengthen relationships. It’s almost always known that we feel better after interacting with those we love! Make time for this - work will be there when you return. When you get time away from work, you come back more refreshed and ready to do a better job.
Especially on weekends, it’s important to turn off electronics! Weekends should mostly be reserved for fun, relaxation, and recharging. Your phone and computer can be used personally, but try not to get too involved with anything with work. It’s important for the brain to shut down for a while and not focus on work.
It gets tiring for your brain and body to look at a screen constantly, and you seriously blur the lines between work and play when you end up working all weekend, even if it’s just through your computer.
Do your best to make weekends work technology free! Again, you’ll come back feeling ready to tackle your tasks on Monday if you didn’t spend the whole weekend working.
Downtime is so important! Doing fun things with your friends and family is also crucial and valid, but spending time relaxing is very important to quality of life.
Whether you enjoy spa days, a leisurely walk, or just some time lounging by a pool, it’s important to have downtime where nothing is on the agenda. We live in a very structured, scheduled world, and while that’s great for productivity, or figuring out where your time is, eventually you have to shut that off for a while.
You can even look at your schedule early in the week and ensure that you’ve carved out some time to do absolutely nothing!
I was rejected for the first job that I applied for on HireMyMom. That, ultimately, ended up being the beginning of my success story. When I was rejected, I was crushed, but I emailed the employer thanking them for their time and asked that she keep me in mind for future projects. To my surprise, she did reach back out to me when her selected applicant went on vacation. After working with me for two weeks, she decided that she wanted to keep me on. That was almost five years ago and not only do I still work with/for her -- we have grown to become good friends.
My business is now an LLC, has a strong client base, and has grown enough that I am back on HireMyMom. This time, as an employer looking for help managing the growth of my own business. I am truly grateful for HireMyMom and the blessings it has ushered into my life.
"Thank you for all of your help, HireMyMom is a safe site, and I refer a lot of my friends and family that are looking to your site."
Working from home has many benefits, from more time and flexibility to a non-existent commute. Although it’s mainly a positive experience for most, there can be challenges involved, especially in the beginning.
Check out this week’s blog for some tips on working through those challenges successfully.
While kid, family, pet and friend time can be a huge bonus to a more flexible job, they can also require a lot of time. Sometimes you’ll need to have focused work time, meetings or conference calls that demand your attention.
For your kids, ask your mom friends or moms in your groups if there are any play groups during the day. You can exchange playdates while other moms need to get things done as well.
You can also take your work outside! Since most home-based jobs involve only a computer, you can bring your office with you. Take your kids or the dogs to a park while you work.
Distractions are part of every job, but can be even more prevalent at home. Between the aforementioned family members and dogs, there’s postal deliveries, homes to be cleaned, and TV shows that can be a little too tempting. If you struggle at all with independent work, it can be even more challenging.
Instead of eliminating these things entirely, give yourself breaks to do what you’re tempted to do during work time, such as watch a TV show, put in a load of laundry, or start dinner.
Your distractions can become a healthy part of your life, as long as you work to manage them while still getting things done. Create a schedule that allows time for the extras or “distracting” parts of your day while still completing your work.
One of the first concerns when accepting a work from home job is the possibility of isolation. Whether you have kids or not, it can still be lonely to not work out of a traditional office.
To combat this, it’s important that social interaction remain part of your life. Can you plan to work with a friend at a coffee shop? What about a weekly happy hour date with a friend or family member?
If you can, look into co-working spaces and spend a few mornings or afternoons working from Starbucks. Even though you might not be working with anyone else, the energy from others, as well as social interaction, will help you feel a bit more normal.
Also, if it’s possible in your situation, be sure to meet up with your co-workers from time to time. If you aren’t local to each other, schedule frequent Skype dates. Video conferencing can still feel like an in-person conversation much more than the phone!
Remote teams are becoming more and more prevalent as more people work from home. Although working from home tends to boost productivity, eliminate sick days and commuting, it can also make communication more difficult.
As businesses grow and hire more employees, communicating as a remote team becomes crucial. Read along for some of our best tips for staying connected in a home based career.
There are several programs out there that can make communication and collaborative work much easier.
Google Drive features word documents, spreadsheets, forms, presentation templates, and other options that allow you to work as a team. The best thing about Google Drive is that it consistently saves and updates the documents, and you can share them in real time amongst your team members. Additionally, it’s a free service.
For chatting, Slack is an option that allows you to speak to your team throughout the day, while saving conversations and making things more streamlined. It’s the perfect place to message, share files, and collaborate in one location.
Lastly, you can try an option such as Basecamp for client management and team communication. There are “Projects” for each client, and each member of the team can add notes, Discussions, files, folders, and so on. An added benefit is that you can share this data with your clients, taking your collaboration to the next level!
High-tech programs are great, but sometimes a little bit of communication is all you need. Texting is an informal way to stay in touch with your remote team.
If your team is smaller, or more casual, you can begin a work group text and keep in touch throughout the day. You might even create specific check-in times and a protocol for using the group text. This can also be fun, as chatting with your team also fosters stronger relationships and bonds that go beyond the workplace.
Meetings are incredibly important for remote teams! Since you don’t see each other very often, communication is key. Keeping a running meeting on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis is crucial. Depending upon the size of your team, the complexity of projects, and other methods of checking-in, the scheduling around these meetings might change.
Either way, keep meetings productive, quick, and as a way to check in. Do you need to address client issues daily? Set it up. If a weekly meeting is enough, keep it to a format that works for everyone, and create a schedule so that team members feel heard, productive, and that they are using their time wisely.
Expectations aren’t just important on an individual basis for at-home employees, they’re also needed for teams.
We already addressed meeting and check-in schedules, but what else is expected of your team? Do you require detailed time sheets? Client or work summaries on a daily basis? Set these parameters up front, and be honest about them in the hiring process.
It’s important to stay out of micromanagement territory, but there’s still a great need to stay on top of employees. Since you aren’t meeting in the traditional office daily, keeping tabs is more than fair. Simply establish a schedule, protocol, and method of expectation that works well for everyone and their schedules.