There’s a growing trend sweeping throughout the business world. More and more workers are shaking off the chains of the office and choosing instead to work from home. The remote work force is growing fast and today’s professionals are gearing up to take full advantage.
For many working from home can seem like a dream come true. No more rushing hour traffic, no more annoying coworkers, no one looking over your shoulder every second, and when your finished you’re already home. Sounds perfect, and it can be, but you’ll need good work habits, some sound strategies, and some essential office tech to ensure you get the very most out of your home office. Here are the top tips for any work at home professional:
1. Have A Routine
Every professional working from home needs to create a routine which clearly defines work time related to the job and work time related to the home. The home is full of distractions and most people can always find things that they need to, or would like to, get done around the house. Work can also pile up and it can seem like you never get away from the office when the office is the next room over. When working form home the line between office/work time can blur.
It is important to have set work hours at home just like you would at the office. That way when you’re working you’re working and when you’re off you’re off. Having a good routine is good for you and your family. Family members will understand that during office hours you will be unavailable and when your done working you can be fully present and not distracted.
2. Create A Separate Work Space
It can be tempting to work in the living room or in front of the t.v., but these areas are full of distractions, and working in the living room also blurs the line between home and office. In order to stick to your daily routine, it is important to create a dedicated work space.
Having a home office has many advantages. First, it’s your work sanctuary. You and everyone else will know that when your in the office you’re working. While in the office you will be less likely to be distracted or disturbed.
Then when your done working you can shut down, close the office door, and check out. Many professionals working from home find it harder to stop working than it is to get work accomplished. If you have a dedicated work space and a set routine it can help you set boundaries. Keep all your work related stuff, computers, laptops, office phones, paperwork etc., in the office.
A home office is a tax-write-off. In some places you can write-off almost half of your rent or mortgage for a home office. You can write-off 100% of any expenses associated with operating and maintaining a home office. This means you can write-off things like, a new work computer, office supplies, telecommunications needs, cell phone bills, and even a percentage of your utility bills. This can add up to a lot of money.
3. Equip Your Office
You will need to be sure your office has all the tools you will need to successfully fulfill all of your working needs. You will need to consider all of your communication, and connectivity needs. Many remote workers may find that their home area has limited internet options.
Anyone working from home will need to communicate with the outside world. It is important to find the best internet access for your business needs. Check with local providers and compare services. If you live in a remote area, consider satellite. Satellite technology can provide internet connectivity to any house, regardless of location. The Internet home of DIRECTV in Dallas writes, “Unlike cable, which relies on traditional landline connections, DIRECTV is available in 100% of U.S. households.”
Make sure you have all the technology you need to preform all of your jobs requirements. If you need to run big complex computer programs be sure you have home computer up to the task. You make need to upgrade software and buy new equipment. Remember you can write a lot of this stuff off on your taxes.
4. Make Time To Meet In Person
It is important that you make time to meet with colleagues and coworkers in person at least once a month. When you are working from home, you can start to feel a bit disconnected or out of the loop. It is important to meet with the people with whom you work the most.
You want to be sure you are up to date and everything that is going on. Sometimes changes can come fast and the world of business is always moving forward. When you are not in the office important changes might filter more slowly down to you. You want to be sure you keep in the loop on everything, and meeting at least once a month in person will ensure your up to date.
A lot of great solutions can come from group learning and hands on doing. It can be very helpful to work in groups. Meeting in person once in awhile will ensure you don’t miss out on team solutions and group endeavors.
Meeting in person can also ensure you are not forgotten. Out of sight out of mind. When you’re working from home it’s important that you stay relevant at work. When it come time for promotions and upward movement the people who are in the office day in and day out are more likely to be considered. Meeting in person gives you the opportunity to shine in front of the boss.