Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a two-part series about best practices for salespeople who work at home. Part One is published here.
Houston, we have a problem … when the words “work from home” conjure images such as sinking into the couch, lounging at a trendy coffee house or sunning yourself in a beach chair. All of these are common stereotypes held by people who don’t work from home about those who do.
Miriam Carey is a business owner who has worked from home for the past three years. She’s now transitioning back to a traditional office space with coworkers, donuts and all.
She rejects the slacker image of the employee who works from home while dispending advice about how to organize a telecommuting workday to acheive optimum productivity.
Carey was featured in the book “Telecommuting for Dummies.”
“I’ve recently been working on-site and find the office environment full of distractions,” she told LifeHealthPro via email. “It’s a hard adjustment.”
At home, she notes, you can control your environment. In the office, well, let’s just say that headphones tend to be necessary to block out unwanted noise. (You can read about this an other workplay annoyances in 10 bad work habits that you might be doing right now (& how to stop them).
During Carey’s stint as a remote worker, she had to set a number of rules in order to insure productivity. Here are some of her recommendations on how to plan your work from home routine:
1. Establish a start and end time.
“Otherwise, you will roll out of bed to get an early start on a project, eat a sleeve of crackers for lunch at your desk, and then remember that you haven’t showered after you finish that one last email, only to come down at 6:30 p.m. to your starving family,” Carey says. “Without rules and structure, (working at home) gets old and ugly really fast.”
2. Always get up, get dressed, and be at your desk at an appointed time.
You want to dress as though a boss or client could knock on your door at any moment.
3. When you’re working, you’re at work.
Don’t let friends or family impose on your work time just because you’re at home.
4. Create a work space that’s just for work.
Try to have a computer for work and a separate computer for personal use. Designate a separate area of the house for handling household business such as organizing and paying your bills.
5. Turn off any mobile or desktop notifications…
… that are personal such as email, Facebook or news headlines. That way, your brain is always in “work mode” when you’re working.
6. Don’t get side-tracked by adorable pets.
If your dog is a distraction, and you can afford it, consider dropping off your pet at a doggy daycare or having a dog walker pop by during your workday.
7. Chores are chores.
These are “home things” that need to be done outside of work hours. If you must cook, for instance, use a crock pot during work hours.
Pros that can quickly turn into cons
Working remotely can come with many advantages and disadvantages. And then there’s what we’re calling “murky pros,” which are aspects of telecommuting that can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you manage them.
Here’s are some of the “murky pros” of working at home.
Less social interaction: