6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Working From Home

By Ashley Orndorff, aka Marketing Geek laptop and plant on a table

You can end up with a lot of freedom or less than you’re used to when working from home, depending on your situation. Being at home instead of an office can present its own set of challenges when it comes to your focus, productivity, and more. And, it can be easy to fall into bad habits, especially if you are still figuring out what works best for you. Everyone is different, but here are some common mistakes to avoid when working from home to help you get started:

Mistake #1 – Skipping a Morning Routine

Even if your work hours aren’t necessarily standard morning hours, it’s important to have some sort of morning or pre-work routine. If you’re working from home alone and don’t have any video calls, it can be tempting to just stay in pajamas and relax.

Even if you do hang out all day in loungewear and comfortable clothes, you still want to make sure you have some sort of routine to get yourself from sleep or relax mode into work mode. It could be as simple or as complex as you want, but it just needs to be some sort of steps that indicate to your body and brain that it’s time to start work.

Mistake #2 – Not Setting up a Dedicated Workspace

Part of getting yourself into work mode is having a dedicated workspace. Granted, this is a lot easier if you have a desk or home office. But, you can still have a dedicated workspace even if you don’t have those things. Simply taking the time to set up a workspace for the day or a block of hours you’ll be working is enough, even if it’s part of the couch or a section of the kitchen table.

Mistake #3 – Never Setting Work Hours or Disconnecting

Working from home often means you get to set your own hours or at least have a little bit of flexibility in your schedule. In a world where we are always connected, it can be hard to establish any sort of work/life balance. This gets even more difficult when you are working from home.

One of the most common mistakes to avoid when working from home is never setting or sticking to work hours and not disconnecting from work when you are done for the day. Setting a general routine of what your work hours will be can help you delineate between work time and non-work time. This is also useful for communication and collaboration with coworkers since they’ll have a better idea of when you are available.

Mistake #4 – Neglecting to Communicate or Manage Expectations

When working from home, it’s important to set, communicate, and manage expectations for everyone involved. Everyone who lives in your household should be on the same page about minimizing distractions as much as possible during your work hours.

At the same time, you’ll also need to set expectations with your employer and coworkers about when and how to contact you and when they can expect a response. Skipping this step can lead to a ton of interruptions and distractions at home and also miscommunications and missed deadlines at work. This is why setting, addressing, and managing expectations is one of the tips for working from home.

Mistake #5 – Taking Too Many Breaks or Not Taking Enough

Taking breaks throughout your workday is a good thing, but it’s important to strike the right balance. Too many breaks can keep you in a distracted state and keep you from getting things done.

On the other hand, not taking enough breaks can slow you down, make you unfocused, and also lead to burnout over time. Build short breaks into your day to help keep your mind and attention sharp, focused, and productive.

Mistake #6 – Ignoring Your Health and General Wellbeing

Working from home can be isolating. It can also easily lead to you staying cooped up inside, snacking more, not drinking enough water, not exercising, etc. and even working through sickness instead of taking the time you need to get better.

Make sure you are listening to your body, paying attention to your needs, and prioritizing your health. It’s important for you to get your work done and meet deadlines, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. Drink enough water, eat well and eat enough, go for a walk when you can, take breaks when you need them, get enough sleep, and more to make sure your health doesn’t take a hit.

These are just a few mistakes to avoid when working from home. What works best for someone else may not work well for you. But, by staying away from some of these mistakes, you can skip the bad habits and focus on what works best for you.

Do you manage a team with some remote members or where everyone is working from home? Here are some tips for managing remote teams to help you stay connected with your team and communicate effectively with them.

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