Whether it is a new start up business, or simply the ability to do your regular job online, more and more people are working from home. Of course, there are a ton of advantages to working from home, not all of which are summed up by a shorter commute. Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages as well. For that reason, I decided that I’d share my short list of tips for anyone beginning to work from home for the first time.
1. Have a routine. Seriously.
Watching TV on Tuesday afternoon sounds like fun and after all, who would really know if you did, right? That being said, a routine of regular tasks like you had in the office (meetings every Wednesday with your department) can help you set up your days so they seem more normal.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Break that Routine
Having a routine is nice and it is incredibly important, but we’ve all taken a much needed long cocktail fueled lunch with a couple of coworkers after a project, right? Don’t neglect that innate need for some difference on a daily basis, otherwise people can become massively disinterested quickly.
3. Stay Healthy
It’s hard to remember that plenty of people have time during their day for a 30 minute run, or at least a 10 minute walk to lunch. Don’t lose sight of the need to stay healthy yourself by eating regularly, exercising and spending time with family and friends when you have the chance. You did all of this at work, you need to do it at home as well.
4. Have Some Boundaries
One of the things a lot of people tell me about working from home is that I need to set boundaries as far as my space goes. Yes, that makes sense, but I live in an urban area where we feel relatively lucky to have a 1200 square foot house. Space related boundaries are only relative here. More importantly though, I have learned to set boundaries with my time. When my cell phone used to ring at 730am when I was getting ready for school, I’d answer it. Now? I let it go to voice mail, if my phone is even on as of yet. If I was working a regular job, I’d never answer a call that early, so why should I if I work from home? I’ve gotten better about giving my family the same amount of respect that I used to give them when I was working 50+ hour weeks.
5. Have Someone to be Accountable to
For my start up, my business partner was originally my accountability partner. After he left our business, that person became my wife. If you have a boss, that person won’t be hard to find or get in touch with. If however, you are working on your own startup, things can be more difficult. Perhaps looking into an organization like SCORE can help, SCORE puts you in touch with someone who once worked in your field and is willing to give you free advice about your business. If you can’t afford a high priced consultant (what start up ever could?) this is about the best bet you are going to find anywhere!
About the Author: Mark Aselstine is the owner and proprietor of Uncorked Ventures. Recently named one of the best wine clubs available anywhere according to Forbes Magazine, Mark is looking forward to the day when he can no longer call his business a startup.
Thanks for sharing.
As a freelance writer I totally agree with the points you made relating to “setting boundaries”.
It can be so easy (guilty!) to fall into the trap of being available 24 hours per day.Being able to switch off is vital as it gives you an opportunity to do your best work when you are actually meant to be working.
It can be hard as at first you feel like you are missing opportunities; however, being able to avoid the phone or emails at times when you aren’t working is definitely healthy.
To chime in, I even feel 24 hours is not enough – there are so many things to do. But then again, it’s all about choices; and yes, health is a huge asset 🙂
Very true. Don’t forget to take breaks!