I have to tell you, working from home is pretty sweet. Not having to start my day with a grueling commute is truly a blessing. Not that working from home doesn’t have its challenges. You have to work a little harder to stay motivated, productive and connected with your colleagues. The staff at On Time Supplies are old hands at this. We all work from home every day, and most of us have been at it for years. I’ve rounded up some of our best tips for working from home successfully.
Don’t forget about the “working” part of working from home.
Working from home takes a lot of discipline. When I was in the corporate world I use to think how easy it would be to work from home with all the comforts and no rush hour commute. What I found out was that you have to turn off the tv or radio, don’t spend time browsing the web, but sit down and focus on work.
This has been my experience as well, though I think I would go crazy without Pandora! I’ve found the Stayfocusd extension for Google Chrome to be really helpful too. It automatically limits my frivolous web-browsing to ten minutes a day. After that it blocks non work related sites, plus helpfully guilt trips me with the message “Shouldn’t you be working?”
Set up a dedicated work space for working from home.
It is way too easy to open your laptop in the kitchen and get distracted by dishes sitting in the sink. I have a dedicated work space in my home which allows me to set boundaries to go “to” and “from” work as if I worked away from home.
When you work for home, your “commute” is the few seconds it takes to get from your breakfast table to your home office. But those few seconds matter! Establishing physical boundaries between home and work really helps focus your mind and attitude for productivity. I’ve even taken to using two separate web browsers to further reinforce the distinction. Chrome is for work, Firefox for Facebook.
Be project oriented when working from home.
Unlike in an office, you can’t work till closing time or for the weekend. You have to be more project oriented and set goals in order to stay focused.
You have to be your own taskmaster when working from home. There is no one to look busy for when your office is just you and your laptop. So you have to find ways to stay productive even when no one is watching. Being project-oriented is the way to go. After all, your employer can only judge your performance by your actual, concrete achievements. I don’t start my day by saying “I am going to sit in front of this computer until five o’clock.” I start my day with a list of projects I want to complete. I feel accomplished when I make it to the end of the list, not when 5 pm rolls around.
Get out of the house!
Be sure you have outside activities to be active in, whether it is volunteer work or church activities.
Have a pet.
Working from home will turn you into a hermit if you let it! I didn’t notice it so much when I had a roommate. But the first week I lived alone, I found I could literally go days with seeing or speaking to another soul. That way madness lies.You have to find fun reasons to get out of the house. I did this by joining a gym and signing up for sewing and jewelry making classes at the local community college. Plus, I am seriously considering taking Steve advice and getting a dog, just for the regularly scheduled walks!
Have some tips for working from home to share? We’d love to hear your advice! Please leave your tips for working from home in the comments.