A “How To” Guide on Working From Home
There are dozens of benefits to working from home – like you might actually get work done during the day instead of being interrupted by that nosy coworker, or you can use your own devices instead of constantly battling the outdated, company-issue computers, or you can work from a jungle paradise in Thailand, a high-tech retreat in Colorado, or a slick city office in Tunisia.
Whether you work as a freelancer or wish to telecommute, before you launch yourself into a home-based business, you should understand the risks. Fortunately, being aware of the pros and cons brings you one step toward overcoming them and enjoying a long and fruitful home-based career. To that end, here is a guide to overcoming five of the most common downsides of working from home.
Maintain Work-Life Boundaries
There is a reason take-your-kid-to-work day only happens once per year and that most office policies require headphones for music or other audio.
Kids, pets, food, radio, and television are all distractions that can limit your ability to produce good work. Before you can be an effective at-home worker, you must be able to draw think lines between your working space and your life space, so neither suffers.
The best solution is to carve out a dedicated workspace in your home. You should only enter your “office” when you are prepared to get work done, and no distractions should be allowed to cross the threshold and interrupt your concentration. In fact, you should develop a list of rules for your home workspace, to include edicts like “no snacking” and “no noise,” and hang it for all to see.
Manage Time Effectively
In most workplaces, workers’ time is heavily monitored, so workers can know exactly what to do when. Though some at-home workers may enjoy a similar schedule of planned meetings and events, most are saddled with a number of products and ample formless time in which to complete them.
Not everyone is naturally gifted at effective time management, but home-workers must learn the skill quickly to find success. The first step is understanding how much time work-related tasks require, so you know how to organize your day around the progress you hope to achieve. If you benefit from written calendars or agendas, you should carry one with you everywhere to ensure you don’t lose track of time and fail to accomplish actual work.
Protect Yourself From Expanding Security Risks
The reason home-based careers are available to more workers than ever before is the ubiquitous and all-powerful internet. Unfortunately, the internet also poses one of the most substantial risks to individual workers and major employers alike.
Data breaches are becoming increasingly common as more businesses rely on the web to share and store information, and the possibility that your devices will be compromised is high ? unless you arm yourself with maximum security software. Reliable anti-malware tools should keep the majority of your online workings safe, but you should still commit to effective security practices, like changing your passwords and backing up your data frequently.
Become Socially Involved
Social isolation afflicts a surprising number of home-based workers. You may not appreciate it at the time, but the interactions you have with your office co-workers make up a large percentage of your communication during the day. When you move your operations into your home, you lose the ability to joke with your cube-mates, talk shop with your neighbors, or even practice small talk with folks at the water cooler.
As an at-home worker, you must make extra efforts to become socially involved. If you telecommute, you should engage in teambuilding exercises or company-wide events to stay connected to your coworkers. If you freelance, you must find alternative ways to find social satisfaction, perhaps moving your work to a co-working space filled with other self-starters like you.
Use Digital Collaboration Services
Similarly, working from home limits how you can collaborate with coworkers or clients. Face-to-face communication allows you and your colleagues to exchange and develop ideas fluidly, but the most common digital services, like email or instant message, cripple your ability to work as a team.
Likely, your employer has some type of collaboration service, like Cisco Spark, but if you are self-employed, you can make good use of free tools, like Slack or Trello. With built-in file sharing, document reviewing, messaging, and more, digital collaboration services might convince you that you never left the office ? in a good way.