Anyone who has tried to work from home knows it’s not for everyone. And, it’s not all PJs and TV all the time. It takes discipline to work from home. But there are a lot of benefits to working from home (especially when you’re living in a townhome in Calgary’s Beltline). Benefits like not having to sit in traffic, reducing gas consumption and carbon emissions, and avoiding the spread of germs and viruses.
When you rent office space in a separate location, you’ve got another payment to make each month – no one needs that! But when you rent a townhome/office you can write off part of your townhome rent and still have an office that has street level access.
And studies have shown that, contrary to what many people still believe, stay-at-home workers are actually more productive than their cubicle counterparts and they report higher rates of job satisfaction.
So you’re convinced. You’re ready to live and work from your new townhome. How do you make sure your plan doesn’t go off the rails? How do you make sure you’re able to keep your work and home life separate and your mental health intact?
Here are our top tips for keeping the home in your townhome and making sure your office doesn’t take over your space or your life.
Top 10 work from home tips for staying in balance:
- Know when to stop working.
- Invest in a good office chair.
- Meet with clients regularly in person so you’re not too isolated.
- Take at least one weekday off per month to play.
- Publish your office hours. And only accept emails and calls during those hours.
- Avoid talking about business in your spare time.
- Book in an hour of “emergency response” time every day.
- Create a routine that includes breaks.
- Set boundaries. And make them stick.
- Enjoy it – throw on your favourite music or work on your deck on a beautiful day.
And here are a couple of resources you can check out as well:
- Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life by Lisa Kanarek.
- Work-Life Balance Quiz
- Four Hour Work Week
Considering working from home? Here’s what some home-based business veterans have to say…
Working from home saves me commuting time and hassle, I can eat with my wife when she’s not working offsite herself, I can walk the dog and enjoy the clean air while at it. Many people just believe that I’m unemployed though. They can’t imagine someone staying at home and working for money as if the Internet or writing wouldn’t exist. – Tadeusz Szewczyk
For years, we had a wildly colored donkey piñata hanging upside down from the vaulted ceiling in our office. It was a reminder to never lose sight of humor and play in our (home) office. The day we put it up, our Abyssinian cat, Maypo, came running into the room at full cat speed. That’s about 50 miles per hour. He literally came to a screeching halt, dead stop in his tracks, gaze pointed upward at the donkey. Terrified. Classic scaredy cat- back arched, fur standing on end. Pure drama. Cat style cognitive dissonance. – Gina Fiedel
No commuting time, eating healthier, can accommodate home deliveries and repairs, and quiet time to turn out detailed work. – Rick Wilson
Returning to my bed after grabbing a late night snack… stopped to check my email… a hand reached up from behind the desk and grabbed mine – my significant other’s! YIKES!! I don’t check my email in the dark any more. – Randy Milanovic
Before I had to actually get a real office, it was important for me to shower and dress for the day regardless if I had to leave or not, before entering my home office for work. Helped me feel like I was actually going to an office to work and put me in work mode. – Keith Bloemendaal
The obvious one is that I get to spend more time with my dog! – Shawn Freeman
I’ve had the experience of working in my Calgary office and now that I’m in Vancouver, I’m back to a home office. I often clean, get dressed, organize, make coffee, etc while on conference calls with clients (the ones where I need to listen/talk, not take notes), and I love that. I often do laundry while working, and use the timing of the washer/dryer as markers for time/task management. I spend a lot less on food and coffee and get to eat/drink the stuff I like. Cost of living in general is much lower with a home office (gas/car maintenance, incidentals), which allows me to spend time and money more strategically or intentionally. I can choose to reinvest that time/money in my business or myself. Working from home also allows me to batch my errands, and get everything done in one weekday afternoon, with minimal lines or traffic. Echoing what Shawn said, I spend more time with my dog, who incidentally also gets me out of my chair and outside a few times a day, which is also good for my health and my time management. I like that I can control my environment and work during my most productive hours. I think that covers many of the pros. – Kali Readwin
I can “take my cat to work” – Toni Guffei
Happy living. Happy working. Happy having it all.