If you are a freelance writer, work-from-home is not a new concept for you. A big number of professionals have now joined the WFH wagon, courtesy a global pandemic that resulted in limitations on movement.
While working remotely saves commuting time and allows for greater flexibility in the work schedule, some of us have been left overwhelmed. Many writers who have just transitioned to remote working find it a bit distracting. Moreover, freelance writers who earlier worked in privacy in their homes now feel a bit puzzled and unproductive as they share their space and internet with their kids and spouses round the clock!
Office Vs Work From Home
There are obvious benefits to working in an office. You have better interaction with your co-workers, the furniture is ergonomically suited for working for long hours, and there are no distractions of Netflix, household chores, or kids and pets vying for our attention. And of course, the coffee machine that was a savior for those hours when lethargy crept in.
No wonder, many of us are already missing having a dedicated office space, where children would not barge in while we work, or we don’t have to request our partner to limit their internet consumption when we have to attend a Zoom meeting. As it is writers are notorious for facing the ‘writer’s block’; now have more baits for their wandering minds. Even experienced freelancers who once had the whole house to themselves have started feeling the need to have a quiet and dedicated workspace for themselves.
The Need For A Home Office Set-Up
Whether you took the freelancing plunge or got confined indoors due to Covid-19, having a home-office set up is necessary. First, it’s important for your health as working for long hours on your laptop while sitting on a bed or couch is really bad for your spinal health. Second, you need a place where you can disconnect from household activities and just focus on your work. Third, when you step outside your office set-up, you leave your work there and not carry it to your bedroom or living room- drawing a line has become important if you don’t want to burn out.
So let’s have a look at some simple ideas with which you can create a suitable home office set-up with minimum efforts!
Design Your Home-Office Set up
No matter how busy you are, spare some time to design a home-office set-up. You don’t have to go overboard, start with one-two steps at a time, and soon you will have a peaceful space where you can write purposefully-
Clear Some Space
If you don’t already have a home office or a small study for your writing endeavor, the most likely reason is the apparent lack of space in your home. But with a bit of management, you can easily create space for a small work set-up.
Identify an area in your home where you want to place your work-set up. The place you choose should be well-lit, and there should be power sockets around to plug in your system. The spot should be away from the television or play area of your kids so that you can have peace and calm when you write. The area should also get strong Wifi signals.
Work furniture does not occupy a great deal of space. If you feel there is less space in your house, you can find some things that you can donate, and reorganize your home. Old clothes that you haven’t worn in years, toys your kids don’t take a second glance at, your dog’s old bed lying in the corner- let someone else use them now!
Get Ergonomic Furniture
That’s one thing where we would advise against skimping. While digital nomads love to post pictures with their laptops on their couch, or even on a hammock or a beach- sitting in such postures and working for long hours can really ruin your back.
If you already don’t have it, bring home a work desk and chair. Go for furniture specially designed for office utility. Make sure the furniture has adjustable height which you can adjust as per your convenience. These days, you can also find stand desks which you can adjust for your height, and do away with the need to sit and slump.
Use WiFi Extender
The quiet place in your home may not receive strong Wifi signals. If that’s the cause, you can amplify the Wifi strength by using a WiFi extender.
There are some tools that can enhance your productivity, and are highly useful in a work-from-home set up.
Project Management Tools
Those who are new to the remote working set up should know about project management tools that can help them in managing their work better. It’s mostly smaller business that don’t have such systems in place, but they have become quite necessary these days as there is no option to meet your colleagues in person.
If you work alongside a team of writers and editors, apps like Trello and Asana are a boon for you. They keep you all updated about work progress, and also allow easy sharing of files. You won’t need additional software for team collaborations.
It is easy to get distracted when a buzz of activities is going on in your home. Some folks want pin-drop silence to complete their articles or blogs. If you find it difficult to focus and write when your kids chirp away in the next room, consider getting noise cancelling headphones.
Ambient Noise Tools
If you really miss working from an office, cafes, or co-working spaces and feel a slump in your productivity, there are apps specifically designed to make you feel at work! Apps like Coffitivity and Hipster Sound can solve your dilemma. With these apps, you can actually play audio clips that mimic the humming sounds of an office, café, or a university- which many people are used to working in. It’s a great tool for blocking the sounds of your household and give you the feeling of a conventional workplace.
Are you checking out tweets or reading horoscopes when you should actually be finishing off your work? Our laptops and devices are one of the biggest sources of distraction. Writers working on books or creative projects can afford to turn disconnect the internet, but content writers or journalists don’t have that luxury.
Using website blockers to block social media and other places where you while away your time could boost your productivity. Use programs like Freedom to block the access across all your devices, so you won’t reach out for your phone in place of your laptop to check Facebook.
Time Tracking Tools
You can use time tracking tool for timing your work. There are tools like Harvest and RescueTime which are great for writers. Using time tracking tools you can actually figure out how much time you spend on productive and non-productive purposes. And writers who charge per hour for their services can keep track of the actual amount of time spent in completing a job.
A bit of décor could make you work desk a cheery place where you would love to spend your time. It would be advisable to keep things minimalistic so that your work space remains clutter free. Go for décor items that add functionality to your space-
A Desk Clock
Having a desk clock on your work desk would help you control the temptation of checking time on your smartphone, where a long list of notifications would be there to divert your attention.
Keep your pens, markers, staplers, etc. together in a pen holder so that your desk looks tidy and things don’t get lost.
Many writers refer to newspapers, books, magazines, etc. or take notes in a diary while working. If this sounds like you, have a small wall organizer right next to your desk to keep your place tidy.
Follow a Decorum
Apart from creating a work-from-home office, following and implement a decorum is also necessary.
- Working in your PJs sound wonderful, but we would rather suggest you wear smart casuals while you work. The feeling of being well-dressed gives you more enthusiasm to work. If you connect with your colleagues on a video call, then it’s a part of proper work attire as well.
- Never use your workspace for watching Netflix or video calling your friends. Restrict its use strictly for work, as you don’t want unproductive habits to creep in here.
- Let your kids know that this is your workspace and they cannot stroll in unnecessarily while you are at work.
- Tidy up your desk every day after work so that you get a clean desk when you begin a new workday.
While many writers chose the work-from-home life out of their own accord, others took to remote working due to the present global situation. Whether we like it or not, work-from-home is here to stay at least for some months. It’s time for us to fully adapt to the new normal so that we all can continue to do what we are best at!