Thursday, March 18th, 2010
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Evita of Evolving Beings
In our first part of this series, we considered “Why Companies Should Allow Their Employees to Work from Home”. Today we follow up with 5 important rules to follow when working from home.
Having experience in working from home for a company (through my husband), and working from home for myself, I would like to explore the topic of working from home from both angles.
Let’s look at how to make the most of your work happiness when you telecommute for a company:
1. Take Accountability
Working from home is for the most part a big privilege, so make sure you are serious about it, should you decide to go this route with your company.
Remember that there are still tasks that need to be done, and people who depend on you. In this type of environment you do get more personal freedom, but that also means you need to take more accountability and initiative for your work.
Make sure therefore, that you know what your company expects of you, what hours you must be available between and what methods of communication you will be using.
(Karl’s note: I’ve seen friends set their careers back because they stopped being a go-getter. They went into cruise mode and stopped wowing their manager and co-workers. One friend told me he wished he would have taken more accountability for his own work. It took him a year and a half to gain his manager’s trust back.)
2. Organize Yourself
This is perhaps the most important tip to having a happy and productive work at home routine, that both you and your company can be satisfied with.
An obvious part of this is having the right technology. Today we have technology to stay so well connected, whether it is quick email, tele-conference or Skype call. We can easily hold meetings with people all over the world or share documents within seconds. Technology can schedule meetings for you, breaks, alerts and more. You just have to make sure it works for you, not against you in how you organize your day.
Therefore, just because you don’t have to wake up at 6 or 7 am any longer, making sure that you are conscious of time and how you spend it, is crucial. This is a huge make it or break it aspect of telecommuting and work from home happiness.
3. Schedule Breaks
One of the biggest things that I have seen happen personally, especially to people who really love their work, is once in a home environment, not only do they become more productive, they actually go overboard. Yes there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
As there are no co-workers around you calling you out for a break or official time to stop, it is very easy to get caught up in your work and suffer in various ways. In being a happy employee you need to be healthy and balanced one too. Therefore, it is very important to have scheduled breaks for proper eating, exercise, etc. Take time out to eat properly, take a stretch break or even a short walk.
You do not have to feel guilty about this either, as you would be taking breaks at your workplace anyway. The difference is that at home they will most likely be more structured and beneficial with what you can do in them.
4. Stay Connected
Working from home for a company usually means that you will still be in regular contact with your boss and co-workers. However, you may need to take more accountability here as well.
Communication really is the key to maintaining and fostering good relationships. Therefore, don’t make your boss wonder what you are doing, apply tip #1 and take accountability for filling them in on your progress perhaps even daily.
Concerned about missing out on office news or outings? Stay connected with your co-workers whether through the company intranet, or even getting in touch with them during a break using the social media that is most suitable.
5. Don’t Abuse the System
When we work from home for a company, everyone wins when we play by the rules. This does not mean that you need to work more or harder than you normally would, but it does mean not abusing the system.
While you may not lose your job, giving employers bad experiences with employees who telecommute ruins the opportunity for many others. If you really don’t want to do what you are doing, than perhaps it is best to re-examine if this is the right job for you altogether.
Otherwise, enjoy yourself and the added benefits that working from home can offer, while offering your company top quality work.
Naturally, working from home is not for everyone. Some people just need that pressure or structured environment of a workplace, while other jobs just simply cannot accommodate it.
(Karl’s note: People also need social interaction. Working from home can be lonely if a person doesn’t take time to reach out to others. That’s why you might want to consider working in a coffee shop or public library for a few hours each day.)
So should you be in this position of working from home or have the option, be sure that you do take it just as seriously as you would coming into the workplace. In the end nobody wins if we slack off and it can quickly cost you your job, not to mention give people the wrong impression about telecommuting. If you work for yourself from home, it can cause you to fail at bringing a needed income and being a successful entrepreneur.
Ultimately, remember that happiness is what you make of it, so whether in your home or the workplace, your level of satisfaction will still come from you and how you approach your work.
Evita next post in this series will enlighten us on how to survive and thrive when working for yourself in a home office.
What do you do to make yourself happy and productive when tele-commuting?
Check out Part 1 of this series: Why Companies Should Allow Their Employees to Work from Home
Evita Ochel, B.Sc., B.Ed., CHN – is the main author of EvolvingBeings.com where she writes about spiritual and personal development. She hopes to inspire people, to truly live out the life of their dreams and awaken the highest version of themselves. She is also the main author of EvolvingWellness.com where she writes about nutritional science and holistic health for optimal health and longevity. Learn more about Evita Ochel or Follow Evita Ochel on Twitter.
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