There are many advantages of working from home. There is no commute back and forth to work, which saves you time and money. You can often create your schedule, which gives you an abundance of flexibility. You can even work in your pajamas if you want to (or at least your pajama bottoms if you are required to use video calling software), providing you comfort while working.
However, there are also challenges when you work at home. It can be all too easy to become distracted by things like:
- Phone calls
- Friends or neighbors stopping by
- Your children
- The Internet (Facebook, email, etc.)
- Household or yard chores
How do you keep from getting distracted? How do you handle a friend who stops by unannounced in the middle of the day? How do you get anything done if you have kids around?
Below are some ideas and suggestions that could help you be more effective and efficient when working at home.
Tips on Working from Home
People with experience in working from home have shared some tips to make it a successful employment arrangement. See if you have utilized any of these helpful hints, and if not, consider implementing one or more of them into your working-from-home strategies.
- Create a Daily Schedule
While there is much flexibility in working from home, it is too easy to become distracted and lose productive work hours. (On the flip side, you could work too many hours to the point that your personal and family life suffers). To solve these problems, set yourself a daily work schedule, so you have well-defined hours for work.
During your scheduled time, you should be working. Avoid personal phone calls and emails during this time. Working from home takes time management skills, and you need to be well-organized. Some people are not hardwired this way so having a work schedule can help keep you in check.
- Let Others Know Your Work Hours
Hang your schedule on your door for others to see and do not deviate from these hours. Have voicemail set up that lets your callers know your work hours and have them leave a message. You will call them back once you are done working for the day.
- Get Out of the House
When you work from home, it can make it more difficult to meet new people and build workplace relationships. Unfortunately, this is a disadvantage of working from home. You need to push yourself to leave your home and get out there in the world to meet new people or spend time with existing friends. If they live local to you, consider setting up lunch plans with colleagues to build comradery, just like you would if you worked in a brick and mortar workplace.
Some people do not have colleagues or bosses when they work from home. That is especially true if you are an independent contractor or the sole employee of your company. If this is the case for you, you can still network virtually on sites like LinkedIn. You will find many LinkedIn groups related to your line of work or other interests you have. You can also build a professional profile that shows your expertise and allows others to find you, which may also help to grow your business.
- Schedule Personal Appointments Outside Your Work Schedule
Try to avoid making non-work appointments during your scheduled work time. Instead, make your appointments in the early morning, over lunch or after your work hours if possible. That will help you stay focused during work hours, and keep you from stopping at the grocery store or neighborhood park on your way home from the doctor's office.
- Pretend You Are Not Home
Do not answer your door or phone during work hours, unless concerned about an emergency. By doing so, you can easily get caught up chatting with friends and not being as productive as you should or want to be.
Like working outside the home, you should schedule yourself a lunch hour and even a small break. Take this time to get outside, even if just for a few minutes. However, don't become too distracted that you go over your scheduled lunch or break time. While breaks are important and help you clear your mind or stretch your legs, they also can tempt you to take more time off from your schedule.