Remote Workers: Leave Your House Every Now and Then

June 22, 2016

9:00 pm

There’s no denying that being able to work from home is a pretty great gig. It allows employees to work without the interruptions at the office, and cloud technologies make it extremely easy to collaborate with the rest of the team who’s in the office.

Plenty of Benefits of Working from Home

Employers love to hire freelancers because it’s a great way to obtain high-quality, productive labor while lowering the costs of a full-time employee. Employees seem to love it too.

According to research from the University of Sheffield, 48 percent of workers are happier when they can work from home and 32 percent say they feel more productive when they do so. In addition, 60 percent of workers polled said they would jump at the chance to work from home if their boss gave them the option to do so.

But It’s Not Always Awesome

Those are the perks of working from home that everyone always refers to, but people often forget that it can also be really hard sometimes. Finding the motivation to roll out of bed and walk the few steps to your home workspace can be a lot harder than many people might realize if they haven’t done it.

Some days are filled with productivity, motivation, and high-quality work, and others are more typified by a longing to stay in bed, do some Netflix binging, and going out with friends. When there’s no one at home to say you can’t do those things, what’s to stop you from taking the occasional day off? A few hours of non-work can’t hurt, right?

The Fix: Occasionally Work Away from Home

But that’s wrong. A break of just a few hours could possibly set you back for days, and getting back the drive to work again can be very hard.

There are various solutions for fixing the motivational challenge, but a surprising one is to work away from home now and then. You might respond, “Isn’t not having to go anywhere the whole point of working as a freelancer?”

That’s certainly part of it, but it’s not the whole story. The choice to stay in the house all day can significantly hinder your productivity, in fact. Although you don’t need to leave the house every day, here are some of the top reasons you might want to leave the house on occasion when you work from home.

Your Home Becomes a Prison

When you spend eight hours a day working in one place, at the end of the day, you just might not wish to be there anymore. That’s the way you felt about most of your in-office jobs, right?

You wanted to get out of there and not return for another 12 hours, minimum. But you can’t do that when your home is your office. You can go to bed, but you have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow in the same place.

Setting apart a designated workspace can help, but it doesn’t solve the problem entirely.  Spending a day working outside your home can help you distinguish the difference between work and home life, and return that feeling of comfort in your own four walls.

There’s a Lot to Do at Home Besides Work

Laundry and dishes pile up, errands need handling, Netflix demands to be watched, and hobbies whisper for attention … but you can’t do all of that because you have to work. The distraction of all these extras around the house can loom over your head and make it very difficult to concentrate on your work duties.

You Need Sunlight

Even if your home office has a giant window, it’s still good for you to go outside at least once a day. If you don’t work from home, this might sound like strange advice, but a freelancer can go days at a time without leaving the house because there’s no need.

Going outdoors is vital and healthy. It allows your body to absorb the vitamin D it needs and helps to boost your mood. When you feel happier, it’s easier to work creatively and productively thereafter.

Social Interaction Helps You Work

Simple social encounters can go a long way toward boosting your mood and making you feel like you’re part of something bigger than your work bubble. Chatting with friends all afternoon would be counterproductive, but visiting a coffee shop where you speak with a familiar barista, hold the door for someone, and watch people interact with each other can make you feel better and remove that lonely feeling that working at home can sometimes entail.

Peer Pressure Creates a Desire to Work

When you know someone could walk by and see your laptop screen at any moment, you’re probably going to be less likely to turn on your favorite TV show or spend the entire afternoon on social media. Having to worry about the judgments of others creates a desire to work harder and be more productive.

Where to Work?

The beauty of working freelance is that most people only need a laptop, electricity, and reliable Internet access to get the job done. This opens up a world of possibilities for working outside the home, including:

  • The local library
  • College campuses
  • Coffee shops
  • McDonalds
  • The city park (if you use your smartphone hotspot)
  • A shared office space
  • A friend’s house

Even spending two hours per day working outside your home can lift burdens and make you feel more comfortable with your job. It might not be the right solution for everyone, but if you happen to be struggling with motivation and productivity, it’s worth a try.

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Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, iMediaConnection.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. When she isn't writing, she's outside on her bike and contemplating her eventual trip to graduate school. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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