How to Successfully Work from Home

Working from home or “telecommuting” has become more prevalent over the years as companies continue to recognize its value. With no geographic confines, companies are able to attract a larger pool of talent, retain employees by providing flexible scheduling, and save money on things like relocation expenses and utility bills. While most telecommuters enjoy this work- life balance, there are some challenges with working from home, which is why it’s so important to establish “rules” or guidelines for a symbiotic relationship between employee and employer.

Below are some tips for a successful work-from-home arrangement.

Eliminate distractions.

Children, pets and other family and friends must respect that during 9-5 you are working just as you would if you were on-site in an office building. This means children should either be in daycare or you should establish another method of childcare during your work hours.

The same goes for other family and friends. You wouldn't be taking multiple personal calls if your coworkers were sitting in a cubicle next to you. That should also apply as a telecommuter.

Be sure to draw a line with your pets, too. Just because you are home all day, doesn't mean you and your dog have an eight-hour play date. Keep your pets in an area that won’t distract you. That way, you’ll avoid the embarrassing dog bark while you’re on an important conference call with your client or boss.

And, while we’re talking about distractions, don't turn on the TV. By keeping your TV off, you’ll avoid the temptation of getting sucked into Dr. Phil or watching your favorite DVR’d shows when you're supposed to be working. Let's face it, daytime television isn't very good anyway.

Stay connected with colleagues.

Since you’re not able to see your coworkers face-to-face on a daily basis, it’s important to stay connected in other ways. Instant messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls are important for keeping the communication window open and nurturing your work relationships.

Take a lunch break.

It’s important to avoid falling into the workaholic trap. Be sure to manage your time as if you were working in an office. In other words, take the time to step away from your desk and grab some lunch.

Get out of the house.

You’re probably thinking, “Get out of the house? Isn't this article about working from home?” What we mean by getting out of the house is this: Working solo can be a bit lonely at times, so it’s important to continue to maintain some form of human contact. This can mean heading into town to meet your friends for lunch or happy hour, joining a professional organization, attending a networking event, or simply being around other people at the gym. The point is it is easy to become a hermit being at home all of the time, so make a concerted effort to get out of the house once in a while.

Don’t become a workaholic.

With your home as your office, the line between personal and professional can become blurred. It’s important to disconnect after the work day is over to enjoy some leisure and spend time with your family and friends. Relationships can suffer if your attention is always on work, so be sure to set boundaries so your work mode switch isn't always set to “on.”

There are many benefits to working from home.  As long as you’re able to focus on your work, manage your time, meet deadlines, and separate your work life from your home life, you’ll enjoy home office bliss!

Do you work from home and have advice on how to do so successfully? Share your tips in our comments section below!

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