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Being able to work from home is one of the many benefits to a professional services job like consulting. As a consultant, if I am not traveling to a client site and I am not working with anyone in the office, I have the flexibility of working remotely from home. The biggest benefit of working from home is giving you back more time in the day. Since I don’t need to spend as much time getting dressed for the day, and I do not have to worry about commuting during rush hour, I have more time to be productive.
What does it mean to work remotely?
Working remotely means that you have the flexibility of choosing where you want to work from. This means that you do not need to go into a traditional office for your job. Some companies offer the flexibility of working remotely a few days a week, so that you do not have to worry about commuting into an office. Other careers that travel require you to visit different sites for the job, and when you are not visiting clients you are welcome to work from wherever you would like.
Tips for Working Remotely
The ability to work remotely from home is a huge responsibility. Since you do not have coworkers around to keep you accountable, you have to make sure sure that you get all of your tasks done on time, and that you keep in touch with coworkers as needed. In order to be as effective as possible while working from home, check out the following tips.
Communicate as much as possible
You do not want your coworkers wondering what you are working on, and you don’t want your managers to forget that you are available. While working remotely from home may make you seem cut off from the office, make an effort to communicate with your coworkers as frequently as possible. Ask questions over email and instant messenger. Set up touch points weekly or even daily to give an update on your tasks. Show your coworkers that you are productive, and be in touch if you need more work to do.
Get a desk with a comfortable chair
It is difficult to get out of the college habit of working on your bed or couch. If you are going to be working from home often, you should make a work space for yourself. Working at the kitchen table is fine, but you will have to move all your belongings between meals. Invest in a desk to work at, and a chair that’s comfortable to sit in. I found my desk chair too uncomfortable, so I found myself frequently transitioning to the couch to work. You want to be comfortable, but not too comfortable. You will not be as productive if you are too relaxed.
Avoid doing chores during the day
Since you are working from home, you might get into the habit of trying to get chores done throughout the day. You might quickly throw in laundry, do the dishes that were bothering you, or quickly wipe down the bathroom. You will want to minimize distractions from your job – if you are on the clock, you really should not be taking time to do your house chores. Treat your job as if you were in the office or traveling, and wait until after 5:00 pm to start those extra activities.
Block social media sites
One of the biggest issues about working from home is that no one is there to make sure that you are doing your job. You want to make sure that you are working from home as effectively as you would be if you were in the office. Would you be on Facebook or Reddit while sitting around your coworkers? If not, you don’t want to be on these websites while you are working form home, either. There are many apps available that can block these websites so that you do not tempt yourself during the work day.
Have a plan for lunch
If you are working remotely and you are on your own for lunch, make sure that you plan ahead so that lunch does not interrupt your work day. If you need to prepare a lunch from scratch, you do not want making food to take longer than the typical lunch that you would take if you were at an office. You also do not want to be stuck without food available, or being too far away from any restaurants.
Hire a baby sitter
If you have a corporate job that allows working remotely from home, it will be difficult to get tasks done if you also have to watch your children. While seeing your kids more is a huge benefit of working from home, being a parent is also its own full time job. Even if your children will be staying at home, it is a good idea to have a baby sitter or nanny with your during the day so that you have time to get work done.
Go into the office
Even if you don’t need to go into the office, there are still many benefits to making the trip in. You will have people to go with you to lunch, and you have the opportunity to network with people in your home city. If your work doesn’t have a local office, consider going to a We Work space or a coffee shop for the day. I am less likely to get distracted if I am working near other productive people.
Being an effective remote employee
As a remote employee, it is easy to get distracted by the other responsibilities that you have at home. While there are many benefits, there are a handful of cons as well. You have less opportunities to network with different coworkers, and you have to be more conscious of how you manage your time. Take advantage of the opportunity to work from home, and ensure that you are being as productive as possible.