Working from home means you get the best of both worlds. You get an awesome job that allows you to do what you love, but you get to do it all on your own time and in the comfort of your own home.
However, it can also be the worst of both worlds. Working in your own home means you are constantly surrounded by distractions and the temptation to get lazy.
When I first started working from home, my friends and roommates were my worst distractions. Friends would come over because they saw that I was home and want to socialize. Roommates would invite me to watch a movie with them. Finally, I realized I had to set some ground rules.
I know my situation isn’t uncommon. Recent data has shown that working from home is on the rise. Over 3.1 million Americans in the workforce are choosing the comfort of their home over an office cubicle.
If you decide you want to work from home, there are absolute do’s and don’t’s to making a home office a success:
- Create boundaries for your family while you’re at work. (Or roommates and friends.) Let them know that when you’re working, you’re at work. One of the biggest hurdle you’ll face when working from home is learning how to stay focused. When you can eliminate the social distractions, you’ll be more productive and on-task.
- Set office hours. Working from home can be great because you don’t have to worry about the typical 9-5 regime; you can work mostly on your own time. But give yourself office hours to help avoid the temptation of sleeping in and procrastinating. You still have deadlines to meet, so giving yourself office hours will help you to remain reliable and successful.
- Create an organized work space. As mentioned before, it can make all the difference – and save you from any third-party accidents. When you establish a designated work zone, you’ll be able to minimize distractions. You can also fill up the work space with whatever you need to – calendars, to-do lists, filing systems, etc.
- Get ready for the day. It might be tempting to stay in your pajamas and leave your bed head as-is, but getting dressed, presentable and ready for work will help tell your brain that you’re working. Plus, you never know when you’ll have a surprise video conference.
- Take personal calls. Your work day should be scheduled out similarly to how it’s would be in an office, so you should be focused on your task at-hand. When you allow simple distractions to get in the way of your work day, you won’t be able to get anything done.
- Multitask. Yes, the kitchen needs cleaning and the bedroom needs vacuuming. You might convince yourself that you can feed the baby while conducting a phone interview, but it’s best to play it safe. You never know when the baby might start crying or another distraction could get in the way of your work.
- Disappear from the office. The best part about being an entrepreneur is the chance to be your own boss. But you might still have people who are waiting for your call, expecting an email from you or hoping you’ll meet that deadline. Keep in touch with everyone – your clients, your subordinates or whoever it may be. Basically, don’t become a recluse. Make sure you still have a presence in the lives of people you work with.
- Stay locked up in your work space all day. Take breaks, eat lunch, stretch your legs and sit in the sun for a few minutes. This will help you feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.
If you choose to work from home, it can absolutely be successful, but it takes commitment. It’s not an excuse to stay in your pajamas all day and be lazy with your work. Success takes hard work and commitment, regardless of where you decide to set up your office. So, if you’ve got the determination, you’re off to a great start. Now get to work!
by: Emily Brady
Emily Brady received her Bachelors at Brigham Young University Idaho where she majored in Communication Sciences with an emphasis in journalism and professional management. She has written for Scroll News and Deseret Digital Media and is currently a freelance writer. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading and swinging in her hammock.