How to work from home in 7 easy steps
Working from home might be your idea of heaven, but it's harder than it sounds! Here are some expert tips to earning some cash without leaving the sofa.
The web is crammed full of remote working opportunities, and since so much of business is done online these days, working from home is becoming somewhat of a norm.
But while the idea that 'going to work' could mean rolling out of bed to get your laptop, a cup of tea then hopping straight back under the covers is undeniably dreamy, working from home can have its challenges.
If you're considering the WFH (work from home) lifestyle it's worth taking these pointers into consideration. Even if you're already livin' the dream, these tips will help you get the most out of your working day.
Get these bits right and you could end up hanging up your work uniform for good!
How to be great at working from home
Find the right job
So you've decided that earning from home is the ideal setup for you. You've stocked up on tea, sugar and comfortable pyjamas – all that's left is... finding a job.
Finding an online job requires just as much effort as finding any other type of job. Fail to take it seriously and you'll fail to make a profit.
Startups are normally the companies most keen to recruit remote workers, and an added bonus of this is that you can work for a company anywhere in the world (meaning the opportunities on offer also just quadrupled!).
Another option to consider is freelancing. Check out our step by step guide to freelancing for everything you need to know to get started, plus tips on how to land different projects.
Don't get conned
The mantra to remember when on the hunt for your stay-at-home dream job is this: if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
You can forget your dreams of a £70 an hour gig – unless you're very highly skilled or have a super niche skill to offer, you're not gonna be making that much dough.
Unfortunately, it seems that students and recent graduates are popular targets for online job fraud, so it's important that you take the necessary steps to protect yo'self!
Do your research – check out the company online before you apply, expect at least a phone interview before being offered the role and check up on their office location on Google.
If the address they gave you looks like a kebab shop on street view, it probably is a kebab shop (and let's face it, you probably can't work for a kebab shop from home).
Crank up the willpower
Having a job where you can work in your pants and not leave your bed definitely earns you bragging rights, but you've got to be sure you've got the self-discipline not to just roll over and go back to sleep every morning.
When you're working for yourself, there will be no one to ring you up and leave expletive messages if you don’t show up for a shift (great!) and no one to tell you off for slacking half-way through the day (also great!).
However, this also means that no one has your back to say you really are a hard worker when you're failing to meet deadlines or turning in sub-standard work. You need to be your own boss in this game, and a hard-ass one at that!
Your housemates may be playing a round of FIFA, and last night’s photos may well just have hit Facebook, but if you don’t find the time to work you’ll find your chances of holding down this dream job evaporate very quickly. Resist!
Have a routine
It's true that you might be revelling in the fact that you don't have mega strict hours as you would do in a normal job, but the danger of this is that a lack of routine can really mess with your motivation and productivity.
The key to having a really productive WFH day is to assign yourself fixed hours of when you start, when you take breaks and when you end your day. If you don't, you'll find yourself working over lunch breaks and having to stay behind on your laptop until 2am because you've procrastinated all day.
If you can squeeze in a walk around the block or a jog outside before you start – even better.
Don't spend too much time alone
In many ways, working from home is so flexible that it can be the most social kind of work you can find. For example, meeting a friend for a coffee or over to your place for lunch is as easy as pie, and WFH tends to be a lot more flexible when it comes to your work/life balance.
However, there's no denying that this can also be one of the loneliest ways to work.
There’ll be no more chats at the water cooler, complaining about the customers or attending raucous work dos – Christmas night out for one?
For some people, the idea of sacrificing the chance to have workmates is no biggy. However, one thing we do recommend highly is to get out of the house on occasion and work in a local library or cafe so you get some interaction.
Don't underestimate how crazy it can make you staring at your computer alone for eight hours of a day! You could do with the fresh air, anyway.
Don't work too many hours
When working involves sitting on your bum at home and using your computer, you're probably well aware of how quickly time can disappear before you know it.
It's important that you give yourself a set number of work hours per day, and stick to it.
Most uni courses suggest a limit of 15 hours a week for any kind of term-time job so you can still concentrate on your studies, but it’s probably better to go for a lower number of hours at first and then add a few more later if you think you can handle it.
Remember you’re not getting paid to do nothing, either, so make sure the time you spend working you really are working – we know it's hard, but there are even web browser extensions nowadays that will help keep you off Facebook and focusing on raking in the cash.
Become a self-starter
Although most decent companies will give you as much help settling in as they can, that doesn't mean there will be someone there to help you when it’s 3am, you’re shattered and you haven’t the foggiest idea what you're meant to be working on.
You simply have to get used to the idea that there will be no one there to hold your hand, no instant feedback and help only comes in emails between nine and five – no matter what sort of schedule you're running to.
Getting organised and planning your workload ahead will really help, and gives you plenty of time to get sh*t done.
Keen to make some cash at home but don't have the time or patience to commit to an online job? Have a peak at our extensive guide on how to make some quick cash online instead.
If you work from home as a student or are planning to do so and want some advice – we'd love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below...