Strategies for Working From Home
It is happening more and more every day. People are working out of their homes. Some work from home as a telecommuter for a large corporation, while others own their own business and use their home as a base camp. What ever your reason, understanding that working from home has advantages and challenges is important.
Lily Garcia recently wrote an article on this very topic. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/03/AR2008120302769.html] The author suggests that most people that work from home really DO work. However, they may need some different strategies and tactics to keep them going strong:
Rise and shine - This one is excellent to mention and one that I have a hard time doing (remember I don't quite care for mornings much.) However, I still make it a point to get up at a regular time with my alarm clock, get ready for my day and go to work. My commute is just much shorter! By treating your work as you would a job that you drive to, you are giving it some honor and importance. Your attitude changes when you are not in your PJs!
Minimize interruptions - The author suggests that "telling your family and friends that you are working during certain times and that your availability is no greater than if you were in a cube somewhere." This was one of the hardest things for me to master when I first started working out of my home office. People seemed to think that I would be available at all times. To make matters worse, the room that is my office had two large openings that people could walk in and out of when ever they wanted.
Today I have two beautiful sets of French doors on the openings that I can lock when I'm not at work. My home phone does not even ring in the room - only the business phone. If I happen to hear the house phone ring, I now ignore it and let it go to voice-mail. When I'm on a break, I'll check it.
Schedule breaks and lunch times - Eating at your desk is not healthy and everyone should have some breaks in their day. It allows for your brain to recharge. Some people work best with a very set schedule every day, while others work better by flexing these breaks at different times throughout the week.
Plan time out of the office - Working from home can be isolating and for some that is depressing. One advantage of working in a traditional office environment is that you get interaction with other people. I use time out of the office to have breakfast or lunch with someone I want to network with. There are also instances where I just need a change of scenery. When that happens, I go to to a coffee shop or another location that has Wi-Fi and do my writing. Changing environments will frequently make me inspired to write. When I'm in town I usually end up at Panara's, but my favorite spot is Apple's Bakery in Peoria IL. Any time I have meetings over there I usually end up at Apple's and a yummie lemon cookie or one of their awesome new gluten free items. (Sorry -- get me on the topic of food and I can get distracted sometimes!)
Be Careful to Not Overeat! - A large struggle that a lot of people face when working from home is the distance from their office to the refrigerator! Be careful not to get into the habit of grabbing snacks and constantly eating at your desk. This is where planned breaks and lunches come in handy. Do what you can to eat only in rooms for eating and not your office. Also eat foods that are energy generating, not energy sapping.
What To Do Now:
What techniques have worked fro you? Please give me your candid comments and tell your friends and colleagues to read this post and give me their candid comments as well. I'd love to hear your feedback!
I look forward to hearing from you.
To your success!