Last week Weekly Industry News looked at a story from PropertyCasualty360.com on the dos and don’ts of working at home. Now the website is looking at ways to be more productive when working from your home office.
The tips come from Miriam Carey who worked from home for three years and wrote a book called Telecommuting for Dummies. Many think working from home is full of distractions that keep people from working. Carey recently returned to an office setting and said, “I've recently been working on-site and find the office environment full of distractions. It’s a hard adjustment.”
Carey says the biggest advantage of working it home is controlling your environment. It’s also potentially much more quiet.
These are the rules she set for herself to actually get work done while at the home office.
1. Start and end at an established and consistent time: She says without an established start and stop time like a job at an office, we might work from early morning to late at night, or short change our employer and work fewer hours. “Without rules and structure, (working at home) gets old and ugly really fast,” she said.
2. Get up, get dressed and be at your home office desk at an appointed start time: In other words, dress as though the boss or a client could walk in at any moment.
3. Establish in your mind that when you’re working that you’re at work: Just because you work from home — she said — don’t let friends or family impose on your work time.
4. Working from home means having a home work space: And that space is just for work. Carey suggests a work computer and a home computer. And make a separate area for work.
5. Turn off mobile and desktop notifications: This would be personal email, Facebook or news reports. This keeps your brain — Carey notes — in “work mode.”
6. Pets can sidetrack you just like friends and family: Do you have a dog that’s a distraction? Or a cat? The cat is easy to ignore. A dog not so much. Carey suggests daycare during your workday if financially feasible.
7. No home work: Anything that has to be done at home ought to be done just like if you were working from your employer’s office.
Carey said there are advantages and disadvantages to working remotely. One problem is what she calls “murky pros.”
1. Social interaction: While it’s nice to have the quiet and non-distractions of the home office, you also have less interaction with co-workers and the boss. A suggestion is an IM, texting or call system with other workers when the day gets tough and you just need to talk. “You don’t have the built-in energy and dynamics of an office, so you need a system to help you feel connected,” she said.
2. Flexibility: While it’s nice to control your calendar and your time, Carey says a big concern is work from home becoming more than 8 to 5. You must not let it slip into your family time or your rest and relaxation.
3. Commuting: One advantage of commuting is that on the way to work you have some time to prepare mentally and emotionally for the day’s challenges. When you go home you have the time to let the workday go and be ready to engage the family. But when you work from home, Carey said, “The 30 seconds it takes you to turn off the computer and walk into your kitchen don’t allow you to leave work behind and be ready to engage in your home life.”
4. There are no office politics: You get to skip the sometimes toxic office politics when working from home. You also miss out on all the fun and office event participation.
5. Perception: Some people don’t take working from home seriously. “They assume you can grab coffee or have a non-work meeting anytime because you work from home. I don’t work less just (because I) don’t have a company paying for an office for me!” she said.
6. Expense management — part 1: Some companies are good about making sure you have all the supplies you need to work for home. Others not so much. And when you start pushing for those supplies, “As with everything else, ask yourself: Do regular office employees have this at hand? If so, then set up a system for yourself and get it reimbursed.”
7. Expense management — part 2: You also pay more for electricity, office supplies, Internet and other equipment. If that’s the case, those items are deductible if your employer doesn’t give you money for expenses.
Her last question is whether working at home is a good move for you. If you’re quite social and love buzzing about the office then working from home will be a bit lonely. To counter that then Carey suggests working with a co-worker or someone in another line of work.
Or you can from time-to-time slip away to a coffee shop. But then you have the same problem that drove you to take the home option in the first place: noise.
Source link: PropertyCasualty360.com