14 Working from Home Tips for Success: Renter’s Version
Published on April 26th, 2017
By Jennifer Oppriecht
Working from home has proven to be an effective way to boost productivity and employee morale. But how do you work from an apartment effectively? Here are fourteen working from home tips for success, including 5 specifically for renters.
Is working from home different than when live in an apartment? Depending on apartment size and location, it can be. You can be successful in either setting, however, if you follow some of the fundamentals rules of working from home.
Working from home productivity statistics
A number of qualitative and quantitative research studies show the benefit of working from home.
- A study conducted on employees of the travel website Ctrip showed that people working from home completed 13.5% more calls than office staff did. They quit at half the rate of people in the office and reported much higher job satisfaction.
- A TINYpulse study revealed 91% of remote workers believe they “get more work done when working remotely” compared to only 9% who feel they don’t.
- A study by PGI reported 82 percent of telecommuters reported lower stress level and 69 percent reported lower absenteeism.
Personal benefits from working at home
Working at home gives you multiple benefits. The most cited benefits include:
- No commuting
- More productivity (less meetings and inter-office distractions)
- Flexible schedule (more family time)
- Improved morale
Be aware there is a flip-side to working from home. Without the right conditions and self-discipline, this study found that people who work from home may become easily distracted by at-home chores. They may also become overworked, as the office is always there.
Some employers don’t favor it as well. Yahoo and Bank of America have restricted working-at-home hours, promoting more inter-office encounters that can serendipitously result in new ideas.
Tips for working from home effectively
Assuming you have the self-discipline to work from home, and your company realizes the productivity benefits, let’s delve into how to work from home effectively. We’ll start out with a few general work from home tips, then get to the renter’s version.
1. Get your own space
Sharing space with other family members or roommates can be very difficult — especially if you need quiet or private phone time. Your office is what feeds your income, so get serious about it and create your own space.
2. Avoid the homebound distractions
It’s so ridiculously easy to find things to distract you. Laundry, dishes, checking the mail. To avoid them, set a routine for working and stick to it. Leave your household tasks for the end of the day — there will be plenty of time to get to them when the work is done.
3. Dress as if you were going to the office
Part of the allure of working from home is that you get to wear your pajamas all day, right? Sounds good in theory, but pajamas are for relaxing. You’re working, so dress that part so you’ll feel sharp and ready to go.
Ingrid Nilsen shares these tips and other motivational tips to help you get things done.
4. Shower (Please)
It’s easy to let yourself go. Get in a routine, where you shower either first thing in the morning or at some point during the day. It will wake you up and make you a much more pleasant (smelling) person for anyone who happens to cross your path.
5. Know yourself
Do you need social outlets? Do you lack self-discipline? Does quiet drive you crazy? Do you actually (gulp) like meetings? These are all things that can determine whether the at-home life is for you. So take some self-inventory before you make a move.
6. Go out to lunch
If you are home all the time, working constantly, then you probably will go a bit off the deep end. Schedule an occasional lunch out, or hit a networking event to give yourself a social outlet.
Don’t overschedule yourself in one day — you still need to be at home working in the office. But cut yourself some occasional slack.
7. Get ergonomic office furniture
We strongly advocate you get a stand-up desk, as sitting has become the new smoking in terms of health risks. But even if you get a standing desk, you’ll need to alternate between that and sitting on occasion as your body gets tired.
In either case, make sure the desk is adjustable and the chair (and/or stool) is ergonomically friendly so you can make adjustments as needed. You don’t want carpal tunnel syndrome or a back ache to result from poor office furniture. It’s worth the extra money.
Here’s a great video with ergonomic workstation tips.
Work from home tips and ideas: Renter version
We’ve provided you with some general tips for working at home. Now let’s take a look at some apartment specific approaches.
8. Find equipment that provides you with your own space
In a home, you’ll likely have more space to carve out your space. You might not have as much flexibility in an apartment. So tailor your equipment so you can make the most of tight spaces.
For example, get a laptop, so you can out to a coffee shop if need be. A laptop also allows you to hook up an auxiliary keyboard and monitor, so you can still work at a desk area with a spare monitor.
9. Get a stand-up desk or an adjustable stand
It’s healthier for you to join the standing revolution. You can get an attachment to place on top of a table to allow you to stand, and make the most use of a kitchen space. Better yet, get a mobile standing desk, like this one featured at healthyposturestore.com.
10. Rent quiet
No one intentionally rents in a noisy apartment building, but here in Madison and close to the UW, students can be a bit, ah, boisterous at times. That might make for some noisy neighbors, so be careful.
11. Get a wall-mounted desk if you’re sort on space
This great tip comes to us from Apartment Therapy. Some wall-mounted desks can fold up, and if you use an ergonomic stool or chair, you can scoot them away when company comes over.
12. Look at co-working spaces
If you’re looking for a hybrid option, think about co-working spaces. Co-working provides a space where a group of people work independently but share values and synergy that can happen from working near one another. This list was posted on MG&E’s website:
- 100state is a downtown Madison co-working and startup community hub geared toward young professionals.
- Cresa offers fully furnished workspaces in a co-working setting at Machinery Row.
- Horizon Coworking is a downtown Madison collaborative work space.
- Madworks Coworking is a multi-option co-working space that includes open device labs to provide access to Internet-connected devices (phones, tablets, etc.) for testing of websites and mobile applications by developer communities.
- Matrix Collaborative Business Solutions is Madison’s largest co-working space located on the west side. Matrix offers 10,000 square feet of cross-industry co-working, private offices and meeting rooms, as well an exercise space, yoga studio, massage room, open art space, music practice rooms and a recording studio.
- Sector67 embodies a “co-working space” – At Sector67, members with common interests in computers, technology and engineering come in and use industrial tools and equipment to build their own projects—turning ideas into prototypes. Members pay a monthly fee to access the space, tools and equipment such as welders, mills, lathes and 3-D printers.
13. Make your apartment your office and cram in some living space
Many freelancers include photographers and designers, who need extra pieces of equipment, such as large display screens, scanners, cameras, etc. If you truly want to use your home for your workspace, adopt the mindset that it’s an office first, with a home elements second.
For example, design it to easily accommodate all your work elements — photo equipment, big computer space, files, etc — and then add-in living space items. Don’t have room for a queen bed? Get a futon that doubles as a couch. Use your computer monitor as a TV set.
14. Get neat
Clutter is killer for working at home. It also takes up way too much space. Make the most of digital storage, and clear the clutter.
Working from home is still work
We’ve given you a wide range of tips and ideas in this post. What’s more important to remember is that everyone’s situation is different. You’ll need to find the optimal balance with your homelife, your employer and your family to create the ideal work situation.
One final thought: No matter how attractive the idea of working from home may be, it’s still work. It’s still difficult and requires discipline and effort. Keep in mind that working from home is a way to work more efficiently, then all these tips will help you immensely.