Tips for working from home successfully
Working from home is fabulous on many levels – it also has its challenges, but today’s technological tools make it easier than ever. Sumy Designs has successfully operated from home offices for over eight years so I thought I’d share some of the benefits and challenges and a few of our tips to do it successfully.
- Not having to drive to and from and an office saves me time and money, not to mention the bonus of not having to deal with rush hour traffic. The five seconds it takes me to walk from my coffee maker to my office makes me a happy employee.
- Set boundaries for family members. One of the hardest things when working from home is getting interrupted by the family. Make sure kids and spouses know that when you are in your office you are working and not to be disturbed.
- Keep a routine – get up and get dressed and start your day like you would if you were going to an office. I find that getting out of my pajamas makes the day more productive.
- Make working hours actual working hours. Don’t clean house, answer your door or take non-business calls during the day. Adhere to business hours of operation and schedule appointments appropriately. I schedule my exercise, doctor and dentists appointments during lunch breaks and after hours. Time-management skills are a necessity when working from home.
- Stay out of the kitchen! This is a tough one for me because I love to snack and it is so tempting to take those few steps over to the refrigerator or pantry and find something to eat when my brain needs to chew. I had to strictly implement the only 2 snack breaks a day rule.
- Check in with co-workers and make use of communication technology. We use iChat throughout the work day to communicate on projects. Being reachable is important to customers and co-workers.
- Dedicate a workspace and create a comfortable work environment. Being in a space you love will make you more productive. I just recently finished a remodel of my office – it took a while, but I have plenty work space and room for books. I also have a comfortable area to meet with clients as needed. Here is a picture I took as we were celebrating completion of the desk portion of the remodel. I have a blog post coming soon about my entire office remodel.
- Keep a list of things that need to get done each day and make sure they get done.
- Work from outside the house here and there to avoid cabin fever. Humans are social creatures and occasionally it is nice to work from a coffee shop or meet a friend for lunch.
- Know when to stop and don’t let work consume your life. It is easier said than done when working from home, but too many hours in front of a computer or too many late nights can make for work that is sloppy and unprofessional.
- Track your time. We track time on all of our projects – whether it is marketing for own business or projects for customers. It’s important to do this so you can make sure you are charging appropriately.
- Enjoy the flexibility and be grateful you work from home aren’t in a stuffy cubicle.
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