One of the perks of being a freelancer is the ability to work from anywhere, including the comfort of one’s home! This work benefit is quickly transitioning to emerging work standards. Statistics estimate that close to 40 percent of the global workforce would comprise freelance professionals; especially as businesses embrace outsourcing to reduce cost and optimize operations.
Work from home professionals feature in many fields of endeavor, ranging from website developers to graphic designers and transcription providers. A consequence of the increasing numbers embracing working from home is keen competition. In this sphere of human endeavor, you can only afford to put your best foot forward. Offering your best work and keeping to client deadlines are basic tenets of freelancing.
The resources at the disposal of the work at home professional often prove the difference between success and failure. Access to actionable and relevant material will reflect in the quality of jobs offered to the client. These resources range from recommendations on setting up a home workstation, hardware choices/options, and productivity tools, among others.
Working from home entails performing all your freelance duties as you would if you had to leave home and work from an office. A compelling article expounded on the benefits of going green and working from home. The advantages include the following:
- Minimizing one’s carbon footprint
- Going for healthier and greener food options.
- Using less paper
- Optimizing office space
- Having total control of your workspace environment.
Your workstation design should follow the basic rules of productivity and performance: designated workspaces should set you on the way to delivering on your goals and projects in a timely, cost-effective manner, including keeping a balance on your health and posture.
In the early days, especially when on a budget, the layout of your workstation would emphasize:
Comfort and functionality. Aesthetics may feature down the line, especially when income from freelancing begins to grow. The following considerations are paramount in setting up a home workstation:
Choose A Place Free From Distractions Of Home Life
To start, demarcation a corner, close to your bed will not cut it (for obvious reasons). Your work-from-home workstation should help you achieve maximum concentration and focus. To this end, areas in the home (again less the bedroom except the situation proves otherwise) like the foyer, the basement or any other place less visited. It is vital that that space receives adequate ventilation, with the windows positioned in such a way that they don’t impede the progress of work.
Consider Your Health And Human Ergonomics
As you will be spending precious hours attending to clients’ requests/orders, it is essential that your body remains primed and ready, but not fatigued.
In this regard, pay attention to the chair, which is a right place to start. Ensure that the lumbar support, armrests and seat height adjusts to your position. Movement is essential, so your chair should offer a wide range of motion in any direction.
The work desk should complement the selected chair, regarding height (ergonomic experts often recommend the adjustable kind), reach and range of movement. It should provide enough room to keep all your work tools and accessories well arranged and easily accessible. Nowadays, standing desks are becoming an essential part of workplace furniture, and they complement the smart work professional.
In addition to the basics of a chair and desk, you can improve on workstation design with the following ergonomic accessories:
– You can go for an anti-fatigue mat (for standing desks) or a flexible footrest (for sitting).
– A sturdy stool to perch on.
– Selecting a movable monitor arm or lift for laptops and other smart devices.
– Working with an adjustable keyboard platform, complete with a padded wrist rest.
Let There Be The Right Light
The computer is the primary tool of the work from home professional. It is a given that many hours are spent staring into the computer monitor. Over time, with radiation from the screens and less adequate protection for the eyes, many individuals may begin to squint and strain their eyes to get work done. Experts recommend screen guards are placed over computer screens to reduce the intensity of the light emitted, thereby protecting the eyes from damage.
In this regard, it is essential to prepare adequately for working in the day and nighttime conditions. To tackle these situations, the following lighting schemes may come in handy:
– Go for a supplemental desk lamp that shines down on paperwork rather than the computer screen. In this way, you take pressure off your eyesight. Place your laptops or computer desktops in such a way that the windows run alongside the workstation as opposed to the front of or behind the screen. Adjust your monitor to the required orientation so that you don’t have to bend, stretch or strain your neck.
As a work from home professional, consider yourself a farmer, charged with administering a parcel of land (deem as work of a client). Your job centers on ensuring that you obtain maximum yield (regarding submitting completed tasks/projects) for the client, who in turn pays you for the value of work done.
As this hypothetical farmer, you will need implements such as ploughs, mowers, and tractors among others. In freelancing language, these requirements translate to working with productivity tools that give you the leverage and edge to deliver on your projects and tasks.
Productivity tools help the work from home professional carry out his/her activities in a seamless manner. They are available at all times and help ensure that clients are satisfied with completed jobs.
These tools include the following:
- Team Collaboration Software
Chances are you work with multiple clients and other work from home professionals, in executing projects and tasks. To achieve better delivery times as well as smoothen interaction amongst members in your workgroup, experts recommend using online collaboration software to communicate, upload and share documents, delegate tasks, make changes and keep tabs on a project’s progress in real time.
Are you ready to explore your options with this productivity tool? Then look no further than tested versions such as Trello, Rodebooth, and Asana among others.
If your work centers on article writing, you should emphasize producing error-free content, relevant to the needs of your client. An excellent tool in this respect is Grammarly. This application analyzes written material, highlights the tiniest of errors, suggests better sentence structures and scan your work for plagiarism (available on premium packages).
If there is an aspect of a freelance business that requires excellent attention, it is finances and accounting. Already the work from home professional grapples with meeting the needs of his client; however, having a rein on monetary issues will prove decisive in making a profit or not.
Enter Freshbooks. Freshbooks is a small business accounting software tailored to give your work from home business a firm footing; you can accept payments online, track time costs and other incident expenses and manage projects among others. The application also shows versatility in allowing you to create and send customized invoices, monitor financial inflows as well as seamlessly storing transaction details in the cloud.
Other helpful productivity tools to check out include Dashlane, Teamviewer, documented marketing processes you can outsource to a virtual assistant and Invision among others.
Work from Home Ethics
Working from home can turn out to be one of the most rewarding experiences. However, succeeding in this profession requires loads of patience and discipline. You can stick to or adapt the following tips to keep your work from home business alive and kicking:
- Stick to a schedule
Scheduling covers having times to surf the net and check emails, having telephone conversations with clients and fellow professionals and working on actual tasks/projects. Assigning time frames to these activities ensures you stay in tune with your overall objectives of running your home business effectively and profitably.
- Prepare as though you were leaving home for work
Do not fall into the rut of being lackadaisical because you work from home. It is essential you prepare mentally for each day. In other words, you should start the day early, take a bath, dress for work and go through the motions of getting to your work desk and settling in for the day. Ensure that you also make allowances for coffee breaks and other periods of rest, to forestall boredom/monotony as well as create a right rhythm and energy for the rest of the day.
- Keep social media activity to a minimum
The freedom that comes from working from home may suffer abuse when you allow distractions from social media.
You will find that replying the Whatsapp ping and updating your Facebook status chips away at your productive times unless of course, these platforms are crucial to your home business. The rule of thumb is setting specific periods for attending to your online accounts. You could check your emails just before you begin work and maybe check again at Lunch or the close of business. In this manner, you will find that you achieve higher productivity and output.
- Take breaks
Taking the time to rest and walking away from your duties for a while not only affords you the chance to re-energize but plays well on your health. Avoid the urge to sit all day at your workstation. Take a walk. Stretch your limbs and ride a bicycle. Engage in activities outside your daily routine to put things in perspective.
Lara Douglas is a young woman who loves interior designing and home decor. She is passionate about new trends and fashion forward home décor ideas. She regularly posts at Neon Signs Depot.