5 Steps to Working from Home

 man's hands typing

Ready or not, welcome to the world of telecommuting. Millions of people who occupied a cube and worked in a traditional work environment now find themselves forced to work from home. Is it possible to still get the job done? Thanks to modern-day electronics and software programs, the answer is a solid YES! But there are a few things you must do to ensure success. Here they are in priority order:

 I. Mental Management.

Mental health should be the primary concern of everyone because thought precedes all actions. Famous life coach, Brooke Castillo, believes that an individual can create the exact life they want, despite their circumstances. Regardless of the situation you find yourself in now, or in the future, you can apply the following five tactics to feel better. It will take you less than 10 minutes to go through the following steps –I promise you’ll feel motivated and able to produce better work:    

          1. Ask yourself what you really want that you already have.
          2. Think about someone you love unconditionally.
          3. Think about the best part of your life for one full minute.
          4. Notice 10 things that are completely amazing in the world.
          5. Say something wonderful behind someone’s back.

 II. Can you hear me now?

The iconic statement has come to be synonymous with a reliable connection. When faced with the opportunity (or for extroverts, dread) of working from home, having fast and consistently working access to the internet is vital for working from home. Find out who your local provider is and, if possible, up your speeds. Remember, there are only two things a teleworker must have, excellent connectivity and a sound roof to keep all the equipment dry.

 III. The Home Office.

Remember the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears?  As you figure out the best place to park yourself and your work tools, you will be deciding between good, better, and best. Ideally, you want a space that is quiet and away from distractions. There will be some adjustments here as you go from room to room, sitting down and setting up to find the “just right” place to open shop permanently. Here are a few tips to employ:

1. Make sure there is no clutter in the room. Mess makes stress!
2. If you have a separate room with its own door for your work area, then that is excellent. However, if disruption is still imminent, place a sign on the door that says, “When the door is closed, do not disturb.” For those with younger kids that can’t read, print out, or have them draw a red circle for stop and green for go. They will know with one glance whether or not they can visit you in your “office".
3. Pay attention to ergonomics. The last thing you need right now is a trip to the chiropractor. Include taking breaks for physical activities in your daily work routine. Hop on your bike and go around the neighborhood, walk the dog, or play catch with your child.
4. Have the right equipment and software to get the job done. Maybe now is the time to buy that new computer, phone or both. Having the right tools for the job will make your life more comfortable and productive in the long run. 


 IV. Know your Employer’s Expectations.

The biggest hindrance to telecommuting is attitude. For years the mantra of, “If I can’t see you working, then you’re not working,” has been the predominant stigma. This ideology has been slowly changing as technology improves. However, if you want to add more telecommute days in your future, make sure you know what your work output needs to be. What project does your employer need completed pronto, and which ones can lay aside for a while?

Your conversation with your supervisor should not be one-sided. Be realistic with what you will be able to accomplish, especially if you are also playing the role of full-time teacher to your children. As you begin to figure out what works and doesn’t work, this conversation may change. Once you are in your rhythm, you'll discover that your eight-hour workday turns into five, which is the norm for those who telework full-time.

 V. The Power of an Hour.

Set aside the first hour of your workweek for planning. Write down all the things you have to do. Then pull out your electronic or paper planner. Now schedule in your breaks, lunch hour, and fun time. YES! Fun/relaxing time is the most important thing to plan first because it will give you the motivation to get all the other work done. It will also allow you to tell any little office visitors exactly when you will be available for their tea party. Scheduling allows you to work to live, not live to work.


Consider the first week or so of telecommuting as your “soft launch” phase. Expect things not to work out. When they don’t, find a new way to make it right. When you set and patiently follow these five rules, you will find your “just right” method to succeed in working from home.

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Contributed by A. Mecham