10 Tips for Work At Home Success
Do you want to transition from a commute to a home office? Working from home is a growing trend, especially in the United States. In the new Gig economy, 34 percent of the American workforce consider themselves to be freelancers according to Nasdaq. Over the next decade, this non-traditional employment trend will grow by 179 percent as detailed in an article on QuickBooks.
I am fortunate enough to have a home office that is in the upstairs of the barn on my property. No traffic jams, no weather concerns, and I get to bring my dogs to work with me every day.
One of the things that keep me focused on work during ‘work hours’ is making sure that I am in fact ‘at work’. There’s a fine balance to the freedoms that working from home provides. And you need to manage your space and time with planning, discipline and organization.
If you would like to move your work or business into this type of flex arrangement, I have 10 tips that can help you make that a reality and stay on track.
1 – Create a Separate Space
As I mentioned above, my work area is in a separate building. But some people get very creative in their homes or apartments and create a dedicated room or area for their home office. Prior to living in a rural environment, I lived in a Southern California city in a Craftsman bungalow with a detached single car garage turned into studio/office. If at all possible, create a separate space that ideally allows for a door that closes to distractions and maintains a professional atmosphere.
2 – Declare Your Home Space
I make it a rule to not take my work into my home. Instead, I use this as my place of relaxation – a place to unplug and unwind. Keeping a division line helps you accomplish everything on your to-do list as well as preventing the need to leave your home in order to get away from work.
3 – Have a Schedule and Stick To It
What works for one business may not work for another. Find a time slot that fits your schedule and your clients. Since I interact with people from all over the world, that can get interesting. Whatever your schedule is, make sure that you maintain one that you feel good about and can commit to, rather than being vague about when you start and finish work.
4 – No Personal Tasks While Working
One of the benefits of working from home is the flexibility to run out to the store when you want or meet up with a friend for a lunch break. They key to harnessing your day is to not make this a common practice. Keeping a regular work schedule will help you stay focused and maintain a professional atmosphere.
5 – Use Voicemail
If you don’t have a virtual assistant, you can forward your phone calls to, use voicemail. Don’t answer your phone when you are working on a project or task. You can always return a phone call, but the loss of productivity is gone forever.
6 – Take Breaks
This is a hard one for me because I tend to get so focused on my work that the hours roll right by. Quite the opposite of what you might think of someone who could get up from my desk and take a break at any time. The one break that I never miss and which gives me an opportunity to recharge is going home for lunch each day. This refreshes me and I look forward to returning to the office to pick up where I left off.
7 – When You’re Done, You’re Done
Having set work hours and not going back to work to do that one more thing will allow you to stay on a schedule and not go into overload. That’s where productivity actually diminishes. The same project will be there the next day – so if it is not an urgent matter just leave it.
8 – You Are a Professional
Don’t identify yourself as “I do xyx, but it’s from home.” No buts. You are a professional, no matter where your office resides. With this mindset, you can attract clients who will perceive you as a legitimate business just like any other brick and mortar company.
9 – Don’t Forget About People
Working from home can be isolating. Yes, we talk on the phone, communicate on social media, text and send emails. However, there’s nothing that replaces face to face time with colleagues, prospects and clients. Meet up with others at luncheon or evening events – and don’t neglect your human interaction time.
10 – Get Dressed
I may not wear a dress or suit, or apply makeup – but I am showered, groomed and mentally prepared to wear my virtual business hat during working hours. Be prepared and ready to go for your work day — you just might find yourself called into a last minute meeting or video conference.
Working from home takes discipline and extra attention not only to your needs but those of your clients. If you are planning on transitioning into a home office, try it for a weekend or during a vacation break to find out whether this will be the right situation for you.
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