Monday, February 2, 2009
5 Tips to make "Working at Home" work for you
Disclaimer: These tips are based on my own personal "working at home" experience of over 4 years and may be helpful to readers who are already working from home or plan to do so.
If you work from your own home it may be based on your own decision or life's circumstances, but we made this step at one point in our life for reasons. My motivational factor is "being my own boss" and working on my own terms. I can't remind myself often enough why I chose to work within the premises of our own home. No matter where you work and how, work is work. And there are times when our "job" is boring, stressful or not overly financially rewarding. We may doubt that working at home was a good choice after all. It will not always appear like the paradise you were always dreaming about, give yourself a positive kick to get back on track!
Remind yourself of the reasons why you wanted to work at home in the first place.
There is no boss to tell you what to work on today.
Often you have to split your personality into boss/employee and set up a work schedule based on urgency of tasks to get accomplished. Finishing time sensitive orders first is a good rule of thumb. If you have large pressing orders to fill you shouldn't worry about peripheral matters. Or allow yourself to get side tracked by personal matters. You don't have to be in your office at 8am, but yet you are responsible for the efficiency of your actions.
Work on pressing orders/tasks first until the job is done
3. Structuring the day
Let's face it, humans need a time structure, it is our nature regardless of romantic ideas about freedom and enjoying life. Good thing is, we don't have to do the "9 to 5" thing if this is not in harmony with our bio rhythm. It is wise to investigate your body's and mind's high's and low's. Working during the hours when we feel most alert and active will give us the best results, and we should stick to a rough schedule. Of course the beauty of working at home is that every schedule can be modified or changed if we feel the need to. Make it clear to yourself and others when you are on the job and when you are off. Don't let work take over your entire wake hours.
Set your own schedule and stick to it.
4. Respect your "work"
If you don't value your work at home as a real profession nobody will. One of the pitfalls of you daily presence at home will be others tempted to take advantage of your staying at home and assumed flexibility and leisure. Watching other people's children, running errands or simply expectations that the house will be in spotless condition because "well, you are at home all day", shouldn't be part of the plan. We are open for exceptions, but
don't fall into the trap of availability or guilt to say NO.
5. Social aspect
Ok, unless you do hire employees, partner up with a friend or you have a lot of customer contact, you will work alone.
Since communicating/trading via internet has become very common I believe that a good part will find themselves in a position to work without peers. Now it depends on your personality or surrounding social net how much interaction you need. The internet has a wealth of forums and groups to exchange ideas with like-minded people or who share your working field. Some may be lucky to find local guilds or groups as well. Keep in mind that the lovely cliche of working in pjs is a popular idea and subject of many cartoons but can be tricky over time. Getting dressed, regardless of your lifestyle, is an important part of our identity. Whether chic, mainstream, hippie or goth.
We should not become invisible working bees, but portray ourselves and still get out there.