I have had the opportunity to work from my home office for the past two years. At times it has been a challenge to adjust my schedule, stay motivated and still feel like I am a part of the corporate big picture. Since so many companies are still downsizing, restructuring and allowing employees to telecommute or work from home, I thought I would share some advice that helped me out when I was making the transition.
As a beginner:
- A much publicized benefit of working from home is that you no longer need to dress for work. Though this is true it’s usually helpful - at least in the beginning - to dress just as you would when you worked in an office. You and those around you will find it easier to take the idea more seriously, especially if you have a dedicated area providing the equipment and privacy you’ll need. Setting a routine is absolutely key to success.
- While you do have the freedom to work the hours that suit you best, remember that you only get paid for work you produce.
- If you’re continually missing deadlines, or scrambling to get things done in time, it’s not just stressful, it can lose you business. On the other hand, with practice and discipline, you’ll probably find yourself being more productive. After all, the incentive is that you can cut the hours you work if everything gets done more efficiently.
- Organization is very important. It’s easy to lose track of things when you don’t have a boss or colleagues on site to remind you. Organizing your schedule and your documents will help you focus on the task at hand and save you time and stress. Setting up the right home office furniture configuration will support your ability to be and stay organized.
- If you’re self-employed, more than 50% of your responsibility is to find customers to whom you can sell your products or services.
- If you’re telecommuting, you may still have to “sell” your employer on the concept on an ongoing basis. A sales background makes this easier, but if you lack sales skills you’ll need to develop them quickly in order to maintain cash flow or your work-from-home status.
Once you’ve been working from home for a while:
- You have a routine that you stick to religiously. Now you have to learn to “chill.” Decide the hours that you’re going to work and work them. Do take off time for important personal affairs as well as to recharge. Setting aside time to relax helps increase creativity and productivity while decreasing stress. By nature of the work-at-home lifestyle, it’s difficult to separate your work and personal life. No – it’s actually almost impossible. So integrate. Take short breaks to get out, mow the lawn or help out at your child’s school It will revive and refresh you and you’ll get back to work with a renewed zeal.
- Wear shorts if you feel like it. Now that you’ve established the fact that you’re legitimately working in a professional and conscientious manner, you can allow yourself the luxury of being comfortable.
- Remember, if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, it might be time to adjust your life or your chosen career to provide more satisfaction and less stress. Re-evaluate. Re-organize. Do what it takes to achieve the kind of work / lifestyle that energizes rather than drains you.