MotivationImage by Christopher

Last year, the upward trend that characterised the UK start-up environment over the last few years reached a new peak after a record average of 240 new businesses a day were created throughout 2013. Of those new start-ups it is believed that around 40% were businesses run from home.

This, alongside an increasing number of telecommuters who use communications technologies to operate away from the office, has created an army of home-based British workers. However to make the most of the associated benefits of working from home, one must be able to generate the optimum blend of discipline and self-motivation, which is not always easy to find outside the structure of an office setting.

If you are facing issues such as these, then read on for some vital tips on how to stay motivated when working from home.

Create and follow a daily routine

For many, the main appeal of working from home will be the ability it presents to roll straight out of bed and to the computer to start working. Conversely working in this fashion – without structure and a predetermined focus – can seriously harm productivity in the long-term.

Creating a daily routine, and sticking to it, can help you form the mind-set that is needed to produce work with the same level of quality and efficiency that you would if you were working in an office. In the main, your level of productivity depends significantly on psychological factors, and creating a consistent routine can have a profound effect in building an outlook conducive for work.

Upgrading the quality of your daily routine

That’s not to say that you cannot make the most of working from home by using the extra time that you save not commuting to improve the standard of your daily routine.

For example, instead of hurriedly grabbing a slice of toast and a couple of gulps of coffee, you can take the time to prepare the ultimate healthy breakfast – which won’t only taste great, but will help to boost your concentration levels for the day of work ahead. Alternatively, you could use the extra time to immerse yourself more in family life by dropping your kids off at school.

However you choose to upgrade your daily routine, use the improvement it brings to the quality of your life as motivation to maintain the level of productivity needed to make working from home a success for you.

Dress for work

Making sure that you dress for work at all times is an extension of building a consistent routine and outlook conducive for work. It may be comfortable working in your pyjamas, but for most of us, once we slip into our bed clothes, the only thing we like to do outside of curling up with a good book or a good box set is retire to bed for the night.

For this reason, wearing clothes that puts you in the mood for relaxation is not the best way to motivate yourself for a day of work. This doesn’t mean you have to put on your best suit– especially if you’re unlikely to encounter anyone else – but simply changing into business casual clothes can help you to transfer from a home to work-based mind-set.

If you are your own boss, sometimes you’ll need to discipline yourself

If the majority of your work can is performed via the use of a computer, then the internet can provide a major distraction, full of your favourite time-sinking websites. Procrastination, it’s the enemy of productivity and something that affects everyone – and yes, that means even those who are considered the world’s go-getters.

In an office environment, where such a scenario has been known to harm productivity, some managers will instruct their administrator to impose filters that manage (prohibit) the access to commonly used time-sinking sites. If you are both your own manager and the sole offender, there are a number of apps and programmes that you can use which essentially do the same thing.

StayFocused is an add-on for Google’s Chrome web browser that allows you to limit the amount of time you spend on your favourite websites for an allotted amount of time, helping you to focus solely on work-related tasks. Mindful Browsing and LeechBlock offer similar equivalents for Safari and Firefox respectively.

Create an office-like environment at home

The home: in most cases our domestic abodes our geared towards rest, relaxation and somewhere to shield us from the stresses of the outside world. Hence many of your favourite distractions – be it the aforementioned box set and book, or something else entirely – are all within reach and tend to be a lot more tempting than work.

As a homeworker, it is therefore vitally important that you create an environment that enables you to maintain a suitable work-life balance. The best way of achieving this is by dedicating a space solely for work so that you are able to mentally ring-fence your job from home life.

If you have the space, dedicating one room in the within the home as an office will have the desired effect. Alternatively, if you have the outdoor space and a larger budget to play with, there are a now a wide range of prefabricated garden offices that provide a range of benefits and all the features needed to create an environment that is suitable for striking the correct work-life balance.

Remind yourself how lucky you are

For most, the prospect of working from home is a ‘dream.’ However, if you are lucky enough to be in that position and you abuse it, that dream will soon come crashing in around you.

If you run your own start-up from home and you don’t put in the hours required to make it a success, it will fail. Similarly, if you’re a remote worker and your boss doesn’t see the required level of output expected, you’ll soon find yourself hauled back before your old desk.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of the associated benefits sometimes. As long as you remain disciplined enough to stick to your routine for 99% of the time, then it’s okay to take an hour out to do whatever you want every now and again. If you remind yourself how lucky you are by having that flexibility to relax some of the time, then finding the extra motivation needed to sustain that working lifestyle shouldn’t be so hard.

If you work from home and have any more advice on how to stay motivated, why not share your thoughts in the comments section below.