In today’s guest post, Ryan Miller from Modernize shares some great suggestions for working from home. Having worked from home for years, I can attest: Good tips… all. Not always 100% doable but important to at least try! — Dana
The perks of working from home seem to be endless! The commute is traffic-free, you can work with your feet up on the table, and the coffee’s always fresh—never too cold. Plus, you have complete flexibility and autonomy to run your day how ever you see fit.
Nothing is perfect, though, and depending on your personality type, sometimes the transition from the traditional corporate world to working from home can be a challenging one. We at Modernize know that building a sustainable home practice has its ups and downs. Here are some tips to help make working from home a wonderful experience from the beginning.
1. Create a Home Office
The first major hurdle everyone has to learn to navigate is being able to draw boundaries. The best way to do this is to create a home office. This doesn’t have to be a separate room necessarily—though if you have that option available, take it! Any corner or nook can be easily be converted to a productive work space, so long as it is large enough to house everything you might need in a day.
Not only does this space distinction make you more productive, it also allows you to deduct any expenses for your business from your taxes. You can usually write off any expense—from paper clips to your computer—so long as it’s solely used for your business. Plus, you can even receive deductions from your mortgage and utility bills based upon your office’s square footage. Though it can be tedious to fill out Form 8829, the payoff is well worth it!
2. Establish Rules with Your Loved Ones
Drawing boundaries with your loved ones, especially your children, is even more important. One of the easiest ways to do this for kids is to have a stoplight outside your office. When the light is green, they know that it is ok to come on in. When it is yellow, then they need to ask permission to interrupt you first. And when it is red, they know not to disturb you.
Some people work best being able to go with the natural flow of life and others need more distraction-free structure in order to be the most productive. Take the time to critically evaluate what type of worker you are and establish rules for yourself (like not answering your home phone or front door during business hours) accordingly.
3. Schedule Yourself
The more organized and scheduled you are about your day, the more effective a worker you will be. Yes, you have the freedom to sleep until noon and work in your pajamas, but that doesn’t mean that you should. In fact, most telecommuters say that they are the most productive when they get dressed for the day and have a set start time.
Even harder to enact but equally important is being willing to clock out at the end of the day. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that your work gets to invade every aspect of your home life. Draw a definite distinction between the two so that when you close the door on your office, you are able to relax at home.
4. Don’t Shut Yourself Off
Although the autonomy of working from home can be liberating, it can also be lonely at times. Get out of the house occasionally and go work at a coffeeshop or a library. Just being around people in a different environment can sometimes inspire new ideas and help shake up your day.
If you are not self-employed, maintaining face time with your employer is also a good idea. This will help ensure that you are more than just a name on the payroll and will help you to stand out whenever a new position needs to be filled.
No matter how you structure your home office or your work day, there are very few people who don’t end up loving the freedom working from home provides. Take the steps now to ensure that you are one those folks, too!
— Ryan Miller, Modernize