The working world is changing right in front of our eyes. The internet has changed the way nearly everybody works and has made working from home easier than ever. People that work from home come in all shapes and sizes: freelancers, entrepreneurs running online businesses, or even corporate workers doing remote jobs.
Most people who choose to work from home seek greater freedom and flexibility.
They want to avoid long commutes, have flexible hours to fit around other important aspects of their lives (children, hobbies or travel), and spend less (no work attire, expensive lunches, or transport costs).
The numbers speak for themselves; in the UK alone over 4.2 million people now regularly work from home—that’s nearly 14% of the work force.
In theory, you only need a laptop and a WiFi connection to work from home. But why stop there? Why not travel around in your home and work from anywhere that takes your fancy? This is where the Tiny House Movement comes in.
For the last few years, the Tiny House wave has been unstoppable. Blogs and Facebook groups have sprung up all over the world, and now there is even a TV show dedicated to Tiny Houses.
Tiny Houses are usually between 200 and 500 square feet in size, are often on wheels, and promote living simply, sustainably and freely. Their owners seek the freedom a tiny home, and the associated tiny mortgage, bring to their lives. Tiny House owners are free spirits and like to make their own rules. The smaller price tag often allows them to be their own boss, working from their tiny home. Equipped with a satellite WiFi connection and a strong sense of adventure, they pack up their work, life and house and travel around the country.
However, living, working and travelling in a small space can be hard. The good news is that there are many ways to make working from a tiny home easier and more enjoyable.
The most important thing to remember when working from home (no matter the size) is that it’s real work and you need to take it seriously. When you can’t separate your work and private life physically, you have to do it mentally.
Here are some ground rules for establishing a routine when working and living tiny.
One of the biggest draws of Tiny House Living is being able to build a custom home. You can design it exactly to your needs. For some this might mean a larger living area so they can entertain guests. Others might need room for a pet or a space to work.
There are many clever ways to incorporate an office area, either by having a dedicated space or using convertible furniture. Think a foldable bed that slides into a platform, which then turns into a desk. Or a pull out desk over your reading nook that doubles up as a bar when you have friends over.
You should make sure to always work in your dedicated office spot. It might be tempting to work from the bed, especially if you have one of those comfortable loft bedrooms, but, sadly, the reality isn’t quite as romantic as you’d imagine. Not only is it bad for your posture, it’s also bad for productivity.
Hold office hours
They don’t have to be 9 to 5, or even 11 to 7. It doesn’t matter when these hours are as long as you set them aside for work. Especially when travelling, setting strict hours will help you get into a routine. In a small space, it is easy to confuse work and spare time and end up multitasking for no good reason (why not check emails while cleaning the kitchen, you’re already in it!).
Dress like you mean business
Don’t worry; you don’t have to wear a three-piece suit. However, changing out of your pyjamas into day clothes, even putting on some aftershave or makeup, will really make you feel like you’re getting ready for work. Don’t be too strict though, after all, not having to wear business attire is a big plus for many self-employed people.
Create mind space
If you can’t close the office door physically, then try to create space mentally instead. You could use noise-cancelling headphones or a specific playlist of background white noise or concentration music. This way you’ll train yourself to get into the zone, without ever leaving, well, the zone.
No means no
Other people in your life might not realise that you’re actually working. They’ll assume that just because you’re at home, you’re free. Free to chat, free to look after their dogs or kids, free to come over for a coffee. Make sure you set clear boundaries so that friends and family know not to interrupt you during office hours.
Change of scenery
If you find you simply cannot focus or work efficiently, then maybe working from home is just not for you. That’s perfectly ok and doesn’t mean you have to go back to an office job either.
Most cities now have coworking spaces—communal offices in which you can rent a desk or a full office for a day, week or month. The atmosphere is very business-like and there are fewer distractions. If there isn’t a coworking space in your town, why not try the local library.
Now it’s over to you. Do you work from a tiny or small home? What helps you to stay productive?
About Jennifer Lachs
Jennifer Lachs is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She has a background in science with a PhD in chemistry. After taking a year out to travel, Jennifer decided to become location independent. She write about travel on her personal blog, Square Hippie and currently works as a freelance writer, social media manager and translator. Jennifer is the founder of Digital Nomad Girls, an online community for location independent women.