Working from Home – How Do You Do It?!!

You wake to the sound of the alarm invading your sleepy dreams. The announcer on the radio seems to holler out to everyone how cold it is and that a record amount of snow that has fallen.

Many are stuck in snow drifts the size of your car, and the accidents on the freeway are astronomical. Snuggling back down into the down-filled comforter you realize – this does not pertain to me and you smile. The ultimate dream for any employee is the idea of working from home. Staying in your pj’s all day, drinking coffee, not having to commute, setting your own business schedule. Sounds heavenly – but is it really?

Working from home can be difficult for some people as they develop their own careers. Here are some tips that will help you work from home successfully:

1. Setting boundaries.

This needs to be set with the people you share ‘home’ with. Distractions in the house are everywhere. Schedule your work time and make sure the kids and spouse know that you are unavailable for playing, chores, etc. during this time. Determine some working hours that fit in with how you want to live your life.

2. Set a routine with breaks.

These means getting up showering, eating breakfast and start your day as if you were driving to the office. If you are still in your pyjamas for the day, true, who will know or see but it is less likely you’ll be ready to leave the house and the less likely you’ll feel ready, amped and productive in general. It is also crucial for you to understand how you work best. Do you work best according to your moods? If so, keep track of your tasks according to task type: computer work, telephone work, meetings, etc. This way you can perform these tasks when you are at your best.

3. Setting limits.

This sounds similar but in actuality, it is different. Limits need to be predefined so that you have ‘agreed’ that this is the allotted amount of time to spend on meetings, tasks and so forth. It is so easy to work continuously, evenings, weekends, and holidays and never entirely leave your work at the office since being you are only across the hall from the kitchen.

4. Don’t be accessible 24/7.

In the business world, everyone is connected via cell/smart phones, e-mail everywhere, and all of the time. Every business has their “open” hours and you should as well unless of course it is an emergency, otherwise let it wait until the next day.

5. Plan to leave the house at least once per day.

With the ease of online shopping, grocery delivery, food delivery, and even services to stop by and walk your dog, it can become easy to stay home all day. Take a short walk around the block, go out for a drink, or go for a drive. If work is a must, take your laptop to a favourite coffee shop and work there. A change of scenery can be good for the constitution.

6. Have all the resources you need to get the job done.

Just because you are a “home-based operation” it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be professional. Make sure you have all the business resources and tools you need to get the job done, and that your business documentation is professional and accurate.

One of the challenges of working from home is knowing when to stop. At the end of the day, shut down your computer, close the door and leave for the day. Make sure that you don’t let your work life completely consume your home life. Be sure to take breaks, find the balance between working, and having a healthy personal life.