Guest post from Angie Picardo
Working from home can be a great alternative to the frustrations of the daily commute, dealing with office politics, and can be helpful for stay at home parents looking to make income while not sacrificing time for their children. The benefit of working from home allows for greater freedom. The problem is… that it offers greater freedom. Sometimes, without the watchful eye of a manager, we can slip into bad habits that prevent us from being productive and can affect the quality of work. Here are some tips that can be helpful in making your working from home experience more rewarding for you and your employer.
1. Create your own space– While a room would be optimal, you should at least try to create a space, desk, or table, in a quiet part of your home, that you can call your workspace. Try to eliminate all distractions from this area and dedicate it solely to your work – much like you would at a desk in an office.
2. Set boundaries with your family– When you’re away at the office your family is less likely to interrupt you than if you are sitting in the back room. However, you need to make it clear that your workspace is a ‘do not disturb’ area, where you are there to work, and would not like to be disrupted unless absolutely necessary. For people with young children it may be necessary to get a babysitter for a few hours or enroll them in daycare, just to be sure you get the hours you need to get work done.
3. Put in the hours– The problem with working from home is that you may be tempted to shirk off work for other duties or entertainment. This is probably the hardest part of working from home, but you shouldn’t let yourself get into bad habits. Instead put in your work hours then reward yourself with your favorite form of entertainment after. This reward system can give you the incentive you need to keep pushing through the day.
4. Schedule breaks/ move around– Set up your own coffee and lunch breaks at the same time every day, this allows you to maintain a schedule and allows you to get up every few hours and re-energize yourself. A 15 minute stroll can also do wonders for stress management and refresh you, even if you aren’t one for exercising. Get that blood flowing for a few minutes and you’ll feel better, I promise.
5. Keep communication with your employer open– It can be difficult for your employer to track your progress when you’re not in the office and it can be frustrating if they fell that they cannot get a hold of you. Keeping open lines of communication will help you to better meet your employer’s expectations and for them to have an idea of the progress that you are making.
6. Ask for help or input– Have meetings with your boss and/or co-workers, communicate with others in similar fields to ask for advice. Using social media can be a great way for you to communicate with others in order to get questions answered when they arise. Just be careful to not let it become a distraction.
7. Stay connected with friends– Working alone can be isolating – humans are social creatures and we need contact with others to stay sane. If you are accustomed to meeting co-workers or friends for lunch you should schedule them in when you can. These interactions will boost your energy and make you feel less isolated than being cooped up in your house all day.
Working from home can take some getting used to, but if you stick to your guns and create a routine there is no reason why you can’t be just as successful working from home as you would in the office. Just stick to your resolve and don’t forget to take care of yourself!
Angie Picardo is a staff writer for NerdWallet. Her mission is to help consumers stay financially savvy, and save some money with the best bank CD.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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