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I spend 2 to 3 days a week working from my home office. In fact, my little dog is at my feet right now as I write this blog, one of my favorite things about working at home. But, I remember speaking with a friend, some time ago, about the struggles and distractions I’ve encountered by not being at the office.
That got me to thinking about my situation. I read a few articles, about the good and bad of working at home. I thought about my own circumstances and ways I could make the most of my time and become more productive. I thought I would share with you what I've learned.
- The Drive. The time and expense saved by eliminating the commute back and forth to the office is significant. Years ago, when working from home wasn’t an option, I easily spent $300 a month on gas. Not to mention the wear and tear on our cars and our environment.
- Greater Flexibility. It’s your office and you get to create you own workflow that works best for you.
- Save Money by eating at home. My kitchen and I suspect yours, has all my favorite food in it. No need to spend money eating out. You can eat healthier and for a lot less by eating at home.
- Comforts of home. This should be obvious, you’re home for heaven’s sake. It’s your castle, your refuge. Your work space is in an environment you’ve created. It's your music, your artwork, your critters...whatever it is that makes your home yours.
- The day is yours. You can avoid office distractions and interruptions. It’s your home, your time and you are in charge. The kids aside you should be able to plan your day your way. You have more control over your stress level. Or if things get too stressful, no one is around to see you cry.
- The Bathroom. You get to use your own bathroom…need I say more?
- Distractions are everywhere, the dishes in the sink, the laundry upstairs, the carpet needs vacuuming and the chips in the pantry. If you’re self-disciplined, then working from home could be nice. Want to test your level of self-discipline? Try working from home for week. You'll find out!
- Loneliness. This can be difficult to overcome if you are a people person. If you’re like me you feed from interaction with others. You may miss the growth of office friendships and staying up to date on the lives of your co-workers.
- Disconnected from the team. You‘re not there for impromptu meetings. You can be left out of planning events, you lose influence in shaping ideas and miss out on learning opportunities. At the office you are part of something bigger than yourself.
- Blurred Lines between work and personal life. When home is the office and the office is at home, it’s hard to turn work off and let it go.
Ways to make it better:
- Create a work area, just for work. I read about a woman who put down an area rug in a corner of her living room. Her business equipment is on that rug, so when she’s on the rug, she’s at work. Off the rug, she’s at home. When it’s time to stop, step off the rug! Force yourself to separate work from personal life.
- Get Dressed. Mentally prepare your mind for work. Just like putting on your workout clothes gets you mentally ready for the gym. You work better when you not in your pajamas.
- Be professional. Be aware of “home sounds” when you’re on the phone. The kids, the lawn mowers, the music, whatever it is, be aware of the sounds around you. When I’m on the phone I’m conscious of how I come across to a client and that includes background noise. I represent the company and I want to make a good impression.
- Stick to a schedule. I was given the gift of procrastination. It’s a struggle for me every day. A to do list, often helps me overcome it and get things accomplished. Set a schedule, stay focused and discipline yourself. Lack of focus will manifest itself at the end of the day, when the one big thing you wanted to get done, isn’t. But yet you listed to 4 Ted talks on Time Management!
- Reconnect Often. Pick a day or two to go to the office, to reconnect. You are part of a team. Exchange ideas, see what you’ve missed and share what you’ve learned. How can your experience add to the company’s overall vision? What are you doing at home that’s part of your company’s culture? In today’s world it’s easier than ever to include others in what you’re doing at home. Email, video conferencing and social media can all be a great way to stay connected to your co-workers at the office and work together.
Okay, speaking of distractions. It took me longer than usual to write this blog today. I heard the voices of excited children outside my development, so, I stepped out to see what was happening. The neighbors were gathered to see the Eclipse and they asked me to join them. It was nice to share the experience with friends. Hope you took a moment to see it. I'm glad I did.
EOD Furniture Guy/Blogger