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SkillsTalk

What traits should you have when working from home?

By Emilly Parris | 07 May 2020


The idea of working from home is appealing for many reasons. For starters, there’s no need to worry about the dreaded daily commute, you can wear comfortable clothing during virtual meetings, and you can spend more time in the comfort of your house with those who are most important to you.

So why then, does it sometimes feel like more of a burden than a blessing?

The reality of working from home can be quite different from our expectations because there is much more to it than taking regular snack breaks and working in pyjamas. It takes the right personality to truly thrive in a home office set-up—plus a few key habits that once mastered, will make your work life at home much easier.

Today, Skillstalk will cover some of the key traits you’ll need to be an effective remote worker and how to work from home successfully if you’re struggling to find the right balance. 

1. Conscientiousness.

In a recent article, Dr Bailey Bosch discussed some of the traits she looks for when hiring workers for her two businesses and the first is conscientiousness. Conscientiousness is a personality trait that is associated with being diligent and self-disciplined. 

Conscientious people tend to be highly organised and efficient at completing tasks, and they’re less likely to procrastinate than someone with a more ‘easy-going’ personality. In order to work well at home, you’ll need some level of accountability to complete your work and the more conscientious you are, the easier this will be for you.

If conscientiousness is not your strongest trait, you can still build habits that will make you more productive, like getting up at the same time every day, creating a daily routine and even keeping your workspace tidy and organised. Adopting habits like these can make a huge difference to your motivation and what you feel capable of achieving each day.

2. The ability to regulate emotions and manage expectations.

young african man working from home

Whether you’ve got kids, a partner or you live alone, it’s important to check in with yourself regularly to make sure you are managing both your workload and your expectations. It’s very easy to start spiralling when you’ve just spent 8 hours working at your desk, only to come into the kitchen in the evening to an empty fridge and a pile of dishes waiting for you in the sink.

Now it seems like your workload has doubled and you’re engulfed by this feeling of overwhelm. People who can successfully work at home are those who are able to evaluate their priorities and shift their actions to accommodate their energy levels. This could mean putting off certain things until the weekend, hiring a part-time nanny/cleaner, outsourcing household tasks or getting groceries delivered.

Being able to regulate your emotions is also crucial when working at home because if you’re prone to negative thinking patterns, they can worsen when you’re left to your own devices.

3. Homebodies have it easier.

While extroverts can certainly enjoy working from home as long as they have enough stimulation to get them through the day, this way of working appears to be better suited to those with introverted personalities.

Introverted homebody-types are more likely to enjoy the ‘alone time’ that comes with working away from the social, often noisy office environment. They may even get better quality work done when left to focus on the task at hand.

If you prefer to be around people because it energises you, then working from home might prove to be a challenge. Extroverts who work at home are encouraged to allow plenty of opportunities to communicate, collaborate and connect with others to avoid feelings of isolation.

Other factors to consider

Working from home is not a one-size fits all. In fact, the experience can be very different depending on your job, your employment status (whether you’re self-employed or an employee of a company), your work style and how many hours you are putting in.

Some people need to separate their work life from their home life in an effort to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s a wonderful privilege to be able to work at home, but it’s certainly not for everyone.

Remember, if it’s the flexibility that appeals to you, you can always work remotely in a café, the local library, a friend’s house or a co-working space.

How to work from home successfully

working from home concept

If you’re struggling to find the motivation to work at home, here are a few tips that might help:

Have a designated workspace - this helps to stay focused and keep your work physically separate. This could be a home office or study, a section of your room or a desk that is for work use only.

Create a routine that works for you and stick to it - can’t get to work until you’ve had your morning coffee? Establish a routine at the earliest convenience so you’ll always feel productive as you check things off. You can do this by setting calendar reminders, making to-do lists or using productivity hacks like the pomodoro technique.

Establish boundaries - physical boundaries may be more difficult to put into place when you’re at home, but you need to establish ground rules. For example, no Netflix until after 5pm or no work calls past 6pm. This means you’ll be keeping your work hours reasonable. Your home can still be your sanctuary if you don’t allow work to spill into your personal time.

Even if you aren’t exactly the ‘work from home type’, these are very simple things you can do to make your work life more manageable when you’re at home.
 
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