How to Succeed When Working From Home: 10 Important Tips
Why Are You Working from Home?
Do you need to succeed at working from home because you own a home-based business or you work freelance? Congratulations! You are a maverick and believe so much in your product or services that you are willing to forgo the traditional work setting and that JOB. You have left the office or the factory and you are striking out on your own. It is beyond imperative that you succeed!
The fact is many Americans, especially women, are becoming entrepreneurs. There has been phenomenal growth in women-owned businesses in the past few years and many of them either work at home or started their venture at home before moving to an office setting. The numbers vary in other parts of the globe, but it is a trend that is still increasing. Consider that according to the online magazine, betanews.com, 45% of US employees worked from home in 2015.
If you need to succeed at working from home because your job now requires you to work remotely, that is also wonderful because A) you have a job and B) there are many perks to working from home. For example, your commute has now shrunk to a five minute walk - no five second walk - from your bedroom to your new office: you just added more time to your day. No need to buy any more power suits: you have reduced your clothing budget drastically. You prepare your lunch in your kitchen: your lunch costs and travel time picking up lunch have now shrunk considerably.
As you see, there are many advantages to working from home but, just like any other good thing, there can be pitfalls, too. Some are obvious and some are not so obvious. The bottom line is that you want to succeed at working from home. It doesn't matter if you are starting your own business or working for someone else. For that reason, it is important to at least consider these 10 tips when your home is your work setting.
10 Tips to for Success When Working from Home
Has anybody told you that to succeed at working from home you must have discipline? Well, they should have, because it does. Your home is probably equipped with many distractions, in many forms. To succeed at working from home it is imperative that you block out the distractions and concentrate on the task at hand - your work.
Here are 10 tips that will help you succeed at working from home. No one tip is more important than the other and no one tip applies to working for a business or company versus working your own business or freelance projects and assignments.
All of these may not apply to you, but consider these 10 tips carefully:
- Set specific "hours of business" if they are not preset for you. While it's true that you may have some flexibility with hours you set, especially if the business is yours, there are still only 24 hours in a day and a specific number should be allocated to "office hours." If the business belongs to someone else, the hours may be preset to coincide with that business' hours. That can be anytime they assign, including the middle of the night as is required of some virtual customer service representatives. The thing is, working haphazardly at anytime that you want each day will probably cause you to cheat yourself out of valuable working time. That time will inevitably slip away from you without you ever noticing until you haven't finished that project on time.
- Include a morning routine that gets you moving. If you work at night, establish a routine here, too, one that gets you revved up and puts you in a "work" mindset. Exercise, take a brisk walk or jog, take a shower, eat breakfast or dinner, whatever it takes to get you going, then get to work!
- Dress as if you are expecting company. There are some schools of thought that say this is not necessary. However, I'm of the belief that you will not be as productive if you "appear" at work in your pajamas or your very casual yoga workout clothes. Wearing such comfortable clothes may sound great, but you could psychologically be too relaxed, too comfortable to give the attention to your work that it deserves. I need an edge or a certain amount of tension to function. Getting dressed helps to establish that edge. You don't need to dress as if you are going in to the corporate office, but you wouldn't entertain company in a robe or your smelly workout clothes, either, would you? Nothing dressy required (although some do dress "up"), just something nice.
- Relegate time for household projects or cleaning to before or after business hours. It may be tempting to look around and see that your windows need cleaning (mine always do) or you need to paint the hallways. Resist that temptation to take care of those kinds of tasks until after you have "clocked out" and I don't mean clock out early!
- Set aside a specific area or room of your home as your office. When you move into that space, this becomes a subconscious signal that it is time to work. The same applies once you've finished for the day. Move out of that space, or clear away your work material if the space serves another purpose. Your brain is better able to"turn on" or "turn off" the work day when your work space is distinct.
- Limit your distractions from outside sources. Try not to answer phone calls that aren't work related. Train your dog not to interrupt or don't allow him in the room during work hours. (This is especially important if you make and take business calls; a dog barking in the background is unprofessional and distracting.) Do not turn on the TV and don't surf the web unless that is part of your job description.
- Once you have decided on your hours of operation, post the times and stick to them. If you are a stay at home Mom or Dad, decide whether childcare arrangements are needed so your day can be devoted to work. If you have older children, be sure to explain to them your work hours. Granted, flexibility may be one of the reasons you are working from home or have established a home based business, but you must decide how many hours it takes to make the business a success or you are sure not to keep those hours and your business could fast become a hobby. Remember to build in frequent breaks in your day. Also important - schedule vacations. Working from home does not mean no vacation.
- Maintain a well equipped home office with all the necessities. Be sure to have your computer, phone, printer, and so on, down to files and paper clips, etc. Keep all of the necessities stocked and in working order. Be sure to check your inventory often, reviewing your needs weekly and restocking. Order from the Internet. It's more efficient and saves gas. Nothing interrupts a work day (or eats up valuable time) like running to the store for printer ink!
- It is even more important to stay organized. There is nothing like wasting your precious time looking for a specific file or worse, having no files in which to organize your projects. Always keep things in the same place. Hire a professional organizer if you are unsure of the best way to set up your office for optimum efficiency.
- Schedule time to interact with others. Ideally, you will schedule time for networking events, workshops and classes that pertain to your business. Include developing new relationships or continuing relationships you may have already established. It's too easy to become isolated when you are working from home. Relationships are still just as important as they were when you were going into the office, maybe more important. Join business networks. Attend their meetings. Many events are ideal for those who work at home or own their own business.
Comfort in your office space is critical to success working from home. I prefer a chair with an adjustable height.
Working from Home - Fulfilling a Dream or Living a Nightmare?
When working from home, you are either working for someone else or you have an enterprise of your own. Either way, you are working for a purpose. That purpose is to fulfill your dream to provide a particular product or service or you have arranged to work at home for a specific business or company. Most of all, you are working to provide for yourself and your family.
All in all, it takes discipline to succeed at working from home. It is so easy to become distracted, lose track of time and before you know it, you have lost a day of work. If you pay attention to a few ground rules from the outset, you can eliminate frustration, wasted down time and, when working from home, success can be yours.
Help me determine why people are working from home by answering this question. Do you currently work from home?
Resources that may be helpful if you are working from home.
- Getting You Organized | Business Support and Personal Assistant Services
If you need help getting your office organized or if you need additional assistance and support, this may be a resource for you.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2012 Cynthia B Turner