Make Working at Home Work for You

Written by chicceo Published in

By Connie Certusi

 

Connie Certusi is Executive Vice President and General Manager of Small Business Solutions at Sage North America.

 

Technology has been a boon for thousands of business women who now telecommute with seamless connectivity. In the past decade, the advances have been incredible, and more women are working from home than ever before. Teleworking can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how it is managed. Below are some tips for optimizing efficiency while working from home.

 

  1. Go to the office: Yes, when you work from home, you still need to go to the office. However small, dedicate a space in your home as your official office. It can be an entire room, but if you don’t have a full room to dedicate, devote a section of one as your office.  Use this space only for working, and work only in this area (when possible). This is the best way to avoid distractions and to be efficient during your day. Train your brain to be ready to focus on work when you’re in your workspace.  

 

  1. Maintain regular office hours:  To be effective as a teleworker, it is important to establish a consistent schedule each day. Avoid distractions such as housework and TV.   At the same time, just because your office is in your home doesn’t mean that you need to work 24/7.  Without work-life balance, you’ll actual lessen your effectiveness. To avoid this, set work hours for the day. Don’t sleep in and compensate by working later in the day. Instead, wake up on time and keep to your scheduled work hours. Allow yourself a lunch break and other small breaks throughout the day as needed, but be disciplined in maintaining that timetable.

 

  1. Dress for work: As appealing as pajamas can be (especially when no one can see you), lounge clothes also make it easier to lounge, making work time less structured and efficient. To make sure you feel focused and sharp, dress as if you are heading into the office. This doesn’t mean invest in a full business formal wardrobe to work from your home office, but avoid loungewear when it’s time to work. Getting dressed for the day is a signal to yourself that you’re ready to be productive and successful.

 

  1. Set goals and reward yourself: Find a time management method that works for you and use it every day. Whether it’s a rigid calendar or a simple checklist, an effective work day at home requires solid goal-setting and regular performance review. Without the luxury of being physically near coworkers to keep pace with, much of your day-to-day performance as a teleworker leaves you accountable primarily to yourself. It also means no one else is there to congratulate you on a job well done. Setting goals for yourself and establishing rewards once they’re met will keep you motivated.

 

  1. Set boundaries and maintain respect:  As a teleworker, you may find that others believe you are less busy than others in offices, leaving you time for personal errands and favors because “you’re home all day anyway.” Be clear and firm in turning down activities that unnecessarily cut into your work hours, and be upfront with your coworkers (and as available as possible via phone, text and email) when you need to be away from your desk during business hours. Remember, working from home is a privilege that must be respected. Take it seriously to avoid damaging your reputation.

 

  1. Meet in person: It can be easy to grow distant from coworkers when you rarely see them face-to-face. Those relationships, and the on-the-fly collaboration that can happen during in-person meetings, are important. Make it a point to meet with colleagues and clients regularly to demonstrate your commitment and professionalism.

 

  1. Hire help: So many women try to do everything on their own. While many women are gifted multitaskers and can manage several things at once, this is harder when small children are in the home while you work. In almost every case, childcare in some form helps tremendously. You know this to be true if you have ever had an inconsolable child during a conference call! This doesn’t mean that you need to hire a full-time nanny or take your children to daycare every day. Even arranging childcare during certain hours in the week can help tremendously, providing uninterrupted quiet time.

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