In the age of digital technology, working from home has become ever more normal. Some folks are telecommuting, while others are striking out on their own as entrepreneurs. What everyone adopting this lifestyle has in common are certain challenges. Learning to avoid the pitfalls that bedevil people working from home is vital. Here are the six choices you must not make if you are working from home.
- Trying less hard. Working at home is associated with an easier, more relaxed lifestyle. While working from home might allow you to skip a stressful commute, thinking you have it easy is still the wrong mindset. You owe your company (or yourself if you are an entrepreneur) a solid day’s work. You must not allow your location to change the dedication with which you approach your responsibilities.
- Dressing unprofessionally. You’re working at home; is putting on office wear really necessary? The answer is yes. How you dress is as much about sending a message to yourself as anything. Being productive while wearing pajamas is just not going to happen for most people. Putting on normal workplace attire will put you in the right frame of mind for a productive day.
- Working in the same place you relax. The natural divide between office and home is erased when working from home. But that doesn’t mean you should try to work from the couch in front of your TV. Your environment plays an enormous role in productivity. Dedicate a specific room as your home office. Don’t do any activity other than work there.
- Staying home all the time. Cabin fever can be a real problem for telecommuters. People working from home can suffer from boredom and social isolation. Complete disconnection from the outside world isn’t healthy. Having a few outside activities is important. Meet up with friends or work colleagues. Take up a new hobby. Or, just go to a coffee shop and work from there for a few hours.
- Being unavailable. One of the biggest issues with telecommuting for those left at the office is difficulty communicating. Entrepreneurs face similar issues. There’s a risk that you will fall out of the loop while working from home. It should be easy for colleagues and clients to get in contact with you. Responds to emails and phone calls promptly. If you have a video conference meeting, be on time.
- Working too much. While the risk of slacking off while working at home is obvious, the opposite can also be an issue. Since you don’t leave for home at the end of the work day, there’s no clear demarcation line between work time and off hours. Choose a quitting time and stick with it. You’ll be much happier if your job doesn’t bleed into what should be relaxation time.
Being able to work from home is a wonderful opportunity. But everything has a downside. You just have to make sure the bad aspects of working from home don’t overwhelm you. Avoid the six critical mistakes described above and your experience working at home will be positive.
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