It’s no secret that small and large companies alike are hiring more work-from-home employees, but experts agree that not every person is cut out for a telecommuting gig. Between attempting to take care of your regular job responsibilities, watching the pet, and feeding the baby, working from home is not quite as easy as it may sometimes seem. Though your boss may approach you about the possibility of working from home at some point, consider these three suggestions before making a quick decision.
Designate an Office Space That Will be Used Only for Work
Too many telecommuting employees have tried and failed to do their work while eating breakfast in bed, wearing pajamas, and watching a few episodes of Seinfeld. Of course there’s nothing wrong with any of the activities I just mentioned, but trying to balance the various distractions at home with the job at hand is something even the most disciplined employee can struggle with.
If you want to be productive while working from home, consider getting a separate office space that will only be used for work. Even if your office is only a few feet down the hall from your bedroom, make sure that when you’re “at the office”, you’re really at the office. It’s easy to get distracted by everything that home offers—endless snacks, television, no internet restrictions and family, but if you want to prove to your boss that you can be productive in any environment you need to treat your home office the same way you treat your office away from home. If you’re having a tough time concentrating in an office inside your home, maybe use a garage or other detached area for your work. Even a library might suit you better than an extra bedroom.
Set Rules Beforehand
Creating a separate office space is not the only key to becoming a productive telecommuting employee. After you’ve decided on an office you need to set a few ground rules for yourself.
One of the biggest distractions telecommuting employees face on a regular basis is children, partners, and spouses. It’s one thing to work from home in an empty apartment, but it’s an entirely different challenge to work under the same roof as the people you love. In order to stay productive you need to let your family know that you’ll be working in your office with the door closed, and no one is to enter unless it’s an absolute emergency. You also need to keep other distractions out of your office, like television, movies, and video games. Make sure everyone in your home understands the rules before you begin working from home.
Adhere to Regular Work Hours
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you neglect normal working hours. If you work a 9-5 job, work those same hours from home to avoid cutting your work day short.
Though you may be tempted to jump out of bed, grab a bowl of cereal, and ease back into the recliner with your laptop, it’s much more effective to work in an environment that’s similar to your regular office space. Shower when you get out of bed, eat a balanced breakfast, and then work in your office during normal business hours. You’ll find it easier to ignore distractions if you stick close to your normal work schedule.
If it’s not for you, Return to the Office
Although my current employer let’s me work from home half the week, I’m fully aware that working from home isn’t for everyone. If you find it difficult to concentrate and stay motivated while working from home, kindly ask your boss if you can return to the office environment. There’s nothing wrong with honesty, especially when it comes to your work productivity. Your boss won’t have a problem welcoming you back to the office. Over time you may build up the discipline necessary to work from home.