Working from home is something that I wanted to do ever since I was knee high to grasshopper (seriously). Curious child that I was. From early on, I never saw value in slogging myself out of bed at some forsaken hour, traveling half asleep to another location to work. Now I don’t have to because I work at home. Yeah, me.
I know that more people want this. And how do I know this? I know because on the rare occasion that I venture out during rush hour I see them driving around with that dazed look just like the zombies on the walking dead. One stop for a quick gas fill lead to a monster coffee spill for the man trying to hurry back to his car. The good news is more companies are starting to get it by providing flexible work schedules and telework. Most telecommuters enjoy their new freedom but don’t know how to do the dance I like to call work- life balance. Here are my unofficial rules of the trade with a few tips for a successful work-from-home arrangement.
Whether you are a telecommuter, freelancer or entrepreneur, if you primarily work out of your home, you have to establish a professional work space that is also comfortable. In other words, it’s work so make it work for you. Even though I work in my pajamas it was important for me to set up a professional space for working from home.
Here’s a photo of my home office I just took with the cheesy camera in my cell phone. Note to self: get a cell phone with a better camera or replace digital camera. I have no idea what happened to it. Worked one day then the next thing I know the rechargeable battery wouldn’t charge. Just so sickening when technology turns on you like that.
My office must haves are: kids photos, dream guy pic, sparkly gold folder, mouse rug, peppermint chapstick, box of tissue, and my comfy chair with pillow. Everything else is standard operating equipment like the file cabinet behind the chair, and my laser printer and paper shredder you can’t see. I had my nephew make me a desk because I wanted more table top real estate the standard store bought desks. The larger desks available were too bulky and heavy so the do-it-yourself option worked best. I placed the pretty painting above my desk after snagging it while out on a rare shopping trip buy office paper. I love pictures with letters or words so I had to get this painting.
I am fortunate enough to have an extra bedroom to dedicate as an office, but during the Summer months, I work in the dining room area of my house. Remember: Comfort is key. I spend a lot of time in my office so I made it work for my needs by decorating with furniture that is comfortable (function) and beautiful (form). I also have several wrist supports to alleviate some of the pain from the occasional pain of carpal tunnel when I’m on one of crazy writing sprees. Gotta love it when form and function come together. going to cause any strain or health issues.
I stocked up on the requisite office supplies. But I suggest making a list of items that you’d normally find in an office. Start with the basics first then add the luxury items after you’ve worked in your new space for a few weeks. You may not need a fancy three-hole punch machine, but you will likely need things like post-it notes, pens, notebooks, a calculator, paper clips, and a stapler. Once you’ve been working at home for a while, you can add items you need later.
If your job requires you to work with a lot of paper, you don’t want it cluttering up your space. I invested in a filing cabinet, folders and labels to help keep my paperwork organized. The cabinet is very basic with wheels on the bottom that I bought from Target for under ten bucks. Even if your work doesn’t involve a lot of paper, a computer filing system is just as important. For this, I use MediaFire, a cloud-based storage system so that I have access where I happen to be.
I know a lot entrepreneurs who work at the local coffee shop but that just doesn’t work for me. Way too many distractions. So I work at home with the TV on to keep my company. TV is just background noise so I rarely get sucked into watching it. It happens, but not often enough for me to worry about it. Let’s face it, daytime television isn’t very good anyway.
I stay connected with friends via instant messaging and take a lunch break daily. Since I’m not able to see people face-to-face on a daily basis, it’s important to stay connected with video conferencing, and phone calls are still important but I keep those to a minimum.
I love the peace and quiet from working at home but it can be a bit lonely at times. So I get out of the out of the house often so the walls don’t start closing in on me. What I mean by that is I meet with a few friends for lunch for some human contact and I joined a writing group on Meetup.
As long as you’re able to focus on your work, manage your time, and separate your work life from your home life, you’ll enjoy home office bliss!