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10 tips to work from home successfully
2011-06-03

During my career I've been working as an employee, going to work every day, and also as a free-lancer, working from home. It's time to share a few insights on the topic.

Owen's command center

1. Give it a try

First of all, you'll never know if working from home could be an option for you if you don't try it out. Talk to your boss. What about beginning with one day per week during a "test month"?

2. Prepare the space

Depending on the nature of your work, you'll like to set up a defined space, and consider the following.
  • Dedicated place with appropriate infrastructure (this is probably not your bathroom)
  • Noise management: Do you like it silent? Avoid the street side of the appartment.
  • Organisation of supplies: Have you got all the materials you need at hand?

3. Eliminate diversions

Find out what's happening at your house when you're not there. Is the phone constantly ringing? Could you spend the whole day reordering a messy household? Are your cat's friends visiting around the clock?
You'll have to find solutions to prevent the distractions from invading your work day. Some may be easy to get rid of (like muting the phone), some may require you to elaborate more (like convincing the cat to poker only on weekends).

4. Stay focused

Once you've taken care of the surroundings, you'll be confronted with your worst enemy: yourself.
Your own pet peeves can get in the way, from procrastination to hyper-activity. This is the rule: Your private mails may have to wait in your inbox until the end of your work day, and you won't be able to repair the television until Saturday.

5. Follow work habits

Home officeThe difference between "work" and "work from home" should basically remain the location. If you usually begin your work day with reading (work) eMails at your workplace, then simply do the same at home. Keep your work habits if they're empowering you; drop them if they're not.

6. Structure your work/time

Plan ahead, organize your schedule, manage your tasks. Nothing new. At home, it's more likely that nobody will remind you to get specific things done; make sure you'll still do them.

7. Keep track

Know what you've achieved at the end of the work-at-home day. A short list of completed tasks and topics worked on should be a good investment. You can use this information to verify how you're doing and compare it to your feelings if unsure, and to show your boss how much more efficient you are.

8. Don't think about it too much

Don't obsess over the topic. Theoretically, you won't experience anything else than you always do on a normal work day. Only the weighting differs.

9. Don't give up

Working from home may not turn out the way you expected at first. Persevere! Practice and generation of habits will help you consolidating the building.

10. Be productive

Keep the productivity techniques you're already using when at your company; they probably fit also at home, since you're doing the same work.
Important: Working from home should have more advantages than going to work elsewhere. Thus it's supposed to enable you to be more efficient. (Otherwise you may be better off at your workplace.)

Suggestions?

  • Would you like to work from home?
  • Are you already? Have you got tips to share?


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