Working-from-home

How Much The Pressure To Come To Work Sick Is Costing Us

‘Presenteeism’ isn’t just killing us – it’s killing our productivity.

September 15, 2016

How To Style Your Workspace On A Budget

Do you work from home or simply need a re-vamp on your usual workspace? The best way to inject a little style into this area of the home is to purchase a few useful trinkets which not only look good, but also make life a lot easier.

RELATED: Jonathan Adler Interior Design Essentials

Shop some of our favourite products below, or let them give you a little extra inspiration if you’re in-store or browsing online.

Planner

A monthly or weekly planner is an essential for someone who needs a little organisation in their life. Magnetic planners, whiteboards and chalkboards are all inexpensive pieces which are easy to update when something new pops up.

Pencil holders

Keep all your pencils, pens, highlighters and markers looking neat and tidy with the help of a pencil holder. You could go down the traditional route and use a wooden tin, or go for something a little more modern. Either way, you’re bound to find something which fits into your design aesthetic.

How To Style Your Workspace On A Budget

Storage

If your desk is equipped with a drawer, invest in storage which will neatly organise all of your belongings. Here you can store some additional stationery such as a stapler, eraser, paper-clips and sticky tape.

How To Style Your Workspace On A Budget

Sticky notes

Who else is guilty of leaving a myriad of sticky notes around their entire desk? Well, they are an essential! Keep them handy (next to your computer) for easy access and then transfer them easily into your weekly or monthly planner.

How To Style Your Workspace On A Budget

Mood board

Even if you aren’t in a creative field, a mood board is a wonderful way to gather all your thoughts into one central place. Add pictures, quotes, deadlines and even bills (eek!) into your mood board, and keep in a place which will always catch your eye.

How To Style Your Workspace On A Budget

Desk lamp

For those who need a little more light, a desk lamp is crucial – especially if you’re in a creative field. Choose one which matches your design aesthetic, however white or black is standard if you can’t compromise on colour.

How To Style Your Workspace On A Budget

Candle

Set a relaxing, zen mood by burning your favourite candle during the day. Not only is it perfect if for creating a homely mood to any room, but they can also be used as storage afterwards – perfect!

How To Style Your Workspace On A Budget

Motivational quotes

Who else requires a little extra motivation to get through the working week? Simply print off one of your favourite quotes and keep it in a frame on top of your desk. Instant-motivation!

How To Style Your Workspace On A Budget

Images via Stephanie Sterjovski, Etsy, BHG, The Every Girl, Casa and Company, Harpers Bazaar, The U Lifestyle 

April 22, 2015

Is Self-Employment Right For You?

Self-employment is becoming a popular option these days with more people seeking flexibility and traditional jobs losing their security appeal. Are you wondering if self-employment could be the perfect next step for you? Read on.

RELATED: Make Working From Home Work For You

Why are you considering self-employment?

Before you make up your mind, take some time to explore your motivation. Are you imagining yourself working whenever you feel like, doing only things you love and getting paid generously for it? Let’s get real, it’s not likely to happen that way, at least not in the beginning. You will be doing the work (hopefully, something you love), but you’ll also have to find your own clients, organise your workload, take care of paperwork and manage your finances. In short, you’ll be taking responsibility of every single facet of your business.

On the other hand, if you’re considering self-employment because responsibility empowers you and you can’t wait to bring your own ideas to life, then you’re much more likely to stick with it in the long-run.

The pros

  • Flexibility. While you can’t just work whenever you want and expect a steady income, you should be able to establish a schedule that fits nicely into your lifestyle.
  • Fulfillment. It’s up to you to choose work that you’re passionate about and eliminate or outsource draining tasks as much as possible.
  • Choice. You get to choose what you do and who you work with. You can say “no” to that client you absolutely hate and no one will fire you.
  • No boring meetings.
  • No office politics.

The cons

  • Uncertainty. While traditional jobs are not as secure as they used to be, psychologically you still feel safer – you expect your paycheck to come on a certain day no matter what. When you’re self-employed, securing your paycheck (and making sure you have enough to cover your expenses) is entirely up to you.
  • No benefits. You won’t get your paid annual leave or your super delivered to your account automatically. If you want to top up your super, it will have to be out of your own hard-earned profit.
  • No structure. With a job also comes a structure that tells you how many hours you’re supposed to work and what you need to accomplish in that time. When you’re self-employed, you need to create your own structure. If you’re not focused, it’s easy to fall into one of these two extremes – either working all the time or working only when you feel inspired and not getting anything done.

Self-employment is not right for everyone and is not a magic wand that will make all your dreams come true, but it can be a means to an end. What’s important is to do meaningful work in a profitable, sustainable way and you can do it (or fail to do it) both in a job or as a self-employed.

Image via Pixabay

April 19, 2015

Pros And Cons Of Working From Home

Is working from home, as a recent study and various people have suggested, actually harder than working from within an office?

As in, when you work for yourself, you often have to have both a business and a creative brain – that’s no easy task! In addition, as some argue, it can be nigh impossible to separate your work life from your home life and achieve a balance when you’re plugging away in a home office.

RELATED: Working From Home: 5 Productivity Tips

Hmm, my jury is out. Certainly, there are many pros and cons with each option, as I’ve discovered since my recent, big career change when I left my full-time employer after a 10-year tenure, while on maternity leave, to become a full-time freelance journalist.

And yet, on the rare occasions when I do think escaping to a tiny, cluttered one-desk partition somewhere would be paradise, I remind myself of some of the tyrannical people and conditions under which I’ve worked, and give myself a little uppercut.

And while I was under no illusions freelancing would be a picnic, it’s certainly proven to be harder than I thought, at times – less Carrie from Sex and the City glamour and more what-the-hell-have-I-done tearing my hair out as I strive to bash out stories while my two toddlers under 3.5 zoom around the room.

Don’t get me wrong – there are many joys and rewards from working from home, but it’s important to understand when you go into business for yourself that you may have a steep learning curve along the way. Here are some “boss babe” business lessons I’ve learnt the hard way:

working from home, careers, time management

It’s business time

Pro: When you work from home, running your own business, you have enormous personal freedom and space in which to produce your best work. And while you still often have to report to a boss when telecommuting, there’s a lot of joy that comes from not having one up in your grill all the time because you work at home.
Con: You, yes you are responsible for everything from the admin and filing through to the invoicing, not to mention your output. There’s no one to delegate tedious tasks to and/or blame for poor workload or dodgy time management. The buck stops with you, baby.

Pants-off Friday

Pro: Working from home, you can go about your daily business however you please. You can even get your kit off if you want to – check out the crazy funsters behind the annual Work In The Nude Day!
Con: Slovenly habits can ensue if you’re not vigilant. I like to dress up a bit and will often do my hair and basic make-up for my work-from-home gig – mainly so as to activate my business brain and resist the temptation to work in my jarmies. I do not particularly enjoy working in the nude, but power to those who do!

working from home, working mums

Politics of fear

Pro: One of the most wondrous aspects of working from home is you don’t have to endure a viper’s nest: work politics will not worry you here – there’s no bully boss, and/or misogynist colleague, or malicious water cooler gossip to contend with.
Con: Working from home can be lonely if you’re not careful. Sometimes, I miss the social interaction and madness of a big newsroom. Happily, social media, not to mention your real friends, are only a mouse click away these days.

Know your enemy

Pro: Working from home means no pesky office co-workers with which to annoy you with their anti-social habits, such as shouting on the phone, stealing your stationery and/or your ideas and leaving half-eaten sandwiches in rotating desk drawers (yes, this actually happened to me).
Con: While you may have escaped dastardly co-workers, working from home may mean having to share your personal space with your husband (who also telecommutes), babies, cat and dog – all of whom will constantly clamour and fight for your attention, no matter how busy you are and how many deadlines you have to meet.

Housework hell

Pro: You often, out of sheer necessity when working for yourself, have to become adept at ignoring that pile of washing, for example, that needs doing if you have an important deadline.
Con: Slave/child labour was abolished and you gotta learn to get better at the work/home juggling act (besides, toddlers don’t make very obedient laundry helpers, either). So, in prioritising housework depending on deadlines, this may mean a slightly messier house for a day, and so be it. Sometimes, something has to give and that’s OK.

working from home, careers, time management

What important business lessons have you learnt working from home?

Main images via www.herworldplus.com; third image via www.news.com.au.

January 12, 2015

Working From Home: 5 Productivity Tips

With summer here, working from home is getting harder and harder. My thoughts keep on drifting off to the beach and to all the Christmas shopping that I haven’t finished yet. But there’s still a bit of time until the holiday and work needs to get done. If you’re like me and struggling to get motivated, here are some tips to help you stay productive.

RELATED: Make Working From Home Work For You

1. Get enough sleep

It’s very tempting to use the late hours of the night for work and do something more fun during the day, but by sacrificing your sleep you’re killing your productivity. Want proof? Just time how long a task takes when you’re at your best and when you’re sleep deprived. I’ve experimented with my own productivity and I’ve found that the most mundane tasks can take me up to two times longer when I’m overtired.

2. Schedule time for your work

Flexibility was probably one of the reasons why you started working from home in the first place, but have too much flexibility and it’s very easy to find yourself working in the small hours of the morning to complete a project before a deadline. It’s a much more sustainable approach to schedule time for your work and stick to it.

3. Organise your work space

Have everything you need at hand and nothing else that could distract you. Don’t keep a bunch of unrelated books, papers and your kids’ toys around you, you’ll be taking precious time to find things when you need them. A TV playing in the background doesn’t help either.

4. Focus on one task at a time

It might be counter-intuitive, but multi-tasking won’t help you get your work done faster. Turn off your email notifications, stay off social media and don’t open too many screens on your computer. Instead, schedule a little bit a play time during your day to allow yourself to get distracted and catch up on social updates.

5. Take breaks

This is another temptation to avoid – to do everything as fast as you can and without breaks, so that you can have more time for other things later. Not only as you get tired, you’ll be slower at what you’re doing, you’ll also finish your working day exhausted and you won’t enjoy you after-work time nearly as much as you were hoping to.

Bonus tip: There’s no one way of doing anything. Learn from others and try out different things, then figure out what works for you.

Image by TheAngryTeddy via pixabay.com

December 9, 2014

Why Working Mums Are More Productive

A funny thing often happens once you exit the corporate world to have kids – it’s like your currency, as a once-prized female worker, suddenly goes into rapid decline. Of course, well before that, you often become an awful inconvenience to your employer once you – gasp – have the selfishness and audacity to even fall pregnant to begin with. Sacre bleu!

RELATED: The Reality Of Further Education For Mums

For your extreme tiredness, morning sickness, aches and pains and sheer strain of growing a small human may prevent you from being the once unflappable and productive worker you once were, now no longer more an happy to stay back and work long hours of overtime for free.

And, once you then take time off for family obligations, including maternity leave, this often has long-term negative effects on a woman’s career – like lower pay or being passed over for promotions in the future.

However, employers should think long and hard about their often covert (and highly illegal) discrimination towards working mums, for a new study shows women with children are actually more productive than their childless peers.

A recent US study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discovered that over the course of a 30-year career, mothers outperformed childless women at almost every stage of their careers. In fact, mothers with at least two kids were the most productive of all.

This news will come as no surprise to working women who often have to juggle demanding kids and a needy husband, work commitments, exercise, housework and friends and family’s needs and expectations – all at once.

It’s a tightrope – a constant juggling act – and, as any working mum brave and honest enough will tell you – it’s often impossibly hard and occasionally, at least one area of your life will be suffering.

careers, working mums, productivity

The researchers (all men) behind this particular study strived to understand the impact of having children on highly skilled women. Key findings include: within the first five or so years of their career, women who never have children substantially underperform those who do and women with at least two children performed the best.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses: wrangling small people can inevitably adversely affect your productivity.

Christian Zimmerman, one of the study’s authors said: “While you have small children, it has an impact on you. But after that, it seems that the impact is the other way.”

Working women must – as a matter of sheer survival – become super-organised, tenacious and tough. And while I abhor the supermum myth, I do think multiple kids makes you more competent at work.

Got a deadline, but need to be home and/or done in time for your toddler’s birthday party? Just watch that working mum go at it – faster than the speed of light.

careers, working mums, productivity

What do you think? Are working mothers more productive?

Main image via ofrizzthirty.com; cartoon via dexterousdiva.co.uk and final image via www.reveriecoaching.com

November 12, 2014

Make Working From Home Work For You

‘It’s great that you can work from home, because then you can do some housework, too.’ I’ve heard this only too often. It reflects a common perception people have that when you work from home you can also do chores, look after kids, exercise and get some rest all at the same time. Maybe, you’ve even tried to live up to these expectations just to find yourself overwhelmed, burned out and wondering what you’re doing wrong.

I’ve done it myself. For years I had a contract job that required a minimum of 10 hours a week. I also had two young kids, one of which was with me full time, so I spent my days worrying where I was going to find the time to complete my work. My kids weren’t getting my full attention and my work was taking a lot longer than it was necessary because I was exhausted.

It all changed when I took some time off work to be with my kids during school holidays. Even though my days were still full, I felt relaxed and I had the best time I’d had in a while. I realised the importance of focusing on one thing at a time and I implemented some changes which made working from home less stressful and more enjoyable.

Have scheduled work time

This is time dedicated to work only, with minimum interruptions and when someone else is looking after the kids. When you know your work time is scheduled, you don’t need to worry where those hours are going to come from and if the baby will wake up just as you’re getting fully immersed in your work project. It may not sound like a big deal, but it makes an enormous difference to your energy levels. Now all that energy spent worrying can go towards enjoying your life and getting your creative juices flowing.

Look after yourself

If you’re happy and well-rested, you’ll be more productive and you’ll get things done faster. It seems obvious, but it’s one of those things that’s very easy to overlook under the pressure of deadlines and parenting responsibilities. In addition to scheduled work time, schedule time just for you. It doesn’t have to be a big chunk of time (it would be nice, but not realistic for many of us), but you do need something, even if it’s just a walk, a yoga class or an early night in bed.

Get support

You’ll need support on a practical level, to make your schedule happen, especially if you have kids and you need to arrange care for them. You’ll also need emotional support. Working from home can be a lonely business. You don’t get the social interactions that come with going to work, so it’s up to you to include them in your life. Take some time to build and maintain your friendships. Join a network of people who do something similar to what you do, so that you can talk about work, share your experiences and exchange knowledge.

If you’ve gotten the impression that working from home is too hard and not worth the effort, I’d like to set that straight. As well as its challenges, working from home has its rewards. I love that I don’t have to get dressed up and travel in peak hour to the office. I love that I get to honour my introverted nature, focus on my work and avoid office politics. Most of all, I love the sense of freedom that comes with working from home.

Image by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay.com

By Tatiana Apostolova

August 8, 2014

Home Decorating Ideas: How To Create A Home Office Space

Having a home office can be beneficial in more ways then one. It could be a great place for you to get your work done, or it could be somewhere you go to escape and unwind.

We’ve got 8 tips on how to set up your  home office space including ideas on space-saving, decoration and overall use of space in an effective and efficient way.

 

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1. Create your own space

The tricky part of having a home office is finding the space for it. If you have a guest bedroom you may want to convert it into an office space and have a pull out couch that could easily make the room revert back to its original purpose when you have guests. Another way is to make your own space, even from the most unlikely areas! If you have a wide corridor or space underneath your stairs you can make use of the available space and create a little study nook.

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2. Make your home office a clutter-free zone

Having a space that is neat and clutter-free is essential to get your head in the zone and get through your work. It’s easy to procrastinate and get distracted by what is around you and end up not getting as much work as you had planned.

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3. Surround yourself with inspiring images

A great way to decorate your home office is to have a frame wall with pictures that inspire you or pictures that make you feel like it is still your home. It could be images of your family on holiday, artwork or photography, or a moodboard you’ve put together.

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4. Make it homey

The whole point of having a home office is to be in the comfort of your own house. Just like the above example, family photographs can be a great way to bring the ‘home’ into the ‘office’. Another great way could be to bring in other decorative pieces that tie in with the theme of the rest of your house so that it’s continuous and provides that sense of familiarity and homeliness.

Be careful of making the office too cozy though, as that would distract you from work and take away from your concentration and focus.

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5. Create an exciting space

Buy furniture you are passionate about, don’t just put in a desk you’ve had for years that you’ve been storing in the basement. Invest in some key pieces and create a working environment that you are truly excited to be in.

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6. Add some colour

This is a great trick to make the space livelier, however it’s one to be careful with. Keep the room fairly neutral; don’t have a monochromatic bright wall, but maybe instead go for a subtle wallpaper to bring in a different conversation into the space.

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7. Add some texture

If you don’t like to have colour in your working environment, you can try to add some texture with beautiful timber furniture, for example. There are some stunning spaces created with just adding timber elements in a black and white space, or even just a white space.

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8. Think vertically

When you have a tight space and have a lot to store, think of creative space saving ways to store your things vertically. Think of the walls as an extra surface to take advantage of. Try hanging shelves where you can display frames as well as keep your books and files.

Remember this is about creating a space to fit a purpose so think about what you will need it for when it comes to designing it.

Do you work from home? Tell us about your home office in the comments!

Sevan Manjikian is a Melbourne-based fashion blogger, interior and jewellery designer and writes for the blog Seven Autumn Leaves.

September 3, 2013