Working At Home? Five Things You Can't Be WithoutBy Canadajobs.com Staff
You've decided to make your home your new home base. Whether you've decided to launch a new business or your job allows you to telecommute from home, there are some basic things you should keep in mind when working from home.
A Designated Space:
You need space to work from home. A desk in the living room is not going to do it. You need to be able to shut the door and be in a separate area that will allow you to be free from distractions. This also helps for the times when you are not working. Since you will be at home most of your life, you need to be able to shut the door and get away when you are not working. Have a separate space allows you to do that.
It doesn't need to be a huge amount, but working from home will cost you. You will need your office to be set up with internet access, a separate phone line, and basic office necessities like a filing area, a workstation, a computer, and a quality chair. If you aren't comfortable, and you don't have the tools you need to work, you will likely be frustrated and have trouble concentrating on your work.
Working from home takes strong discipline and concentration. There are many distractions tempting and luring you away from your office. There's television, the fridge, kids, housework, pets and many more. You must make a work schedule, just as you would with any other job. Take breaks, but stick to your schedule. You must remember that when you work unsupervised, only you are responsible for the work you do. If you are the type of person that needs constant supervision and reminders to focus and work, this arrangement may not be for you.
When you are working in your office, your family and friends need to respect and understand that you are as unavailable as you would be if you were working from an office downtown. Of course, you have added flexibility and you can certainly allow for more family time than if you were working at another location, but they must understand that when you are in your office, you are working. Make sure family members know not to barge in unannouced, not to make loud noises in other parts of the house, and not cause other distractions that will prevent you from working. Keep pets in another part of the house if you know they will be a distraction.
With all the effort it takes to set up a home office, you need to be sure it's exactly what you want. If you can, try it out a few times a month with your employer before committing to full-time telecommuting. It's easy to forget about social interaction, and for some people, it's a critical part of the workday. You might feel alienated from your work environment and have difficulty in keeping a team outlook. If you are going to be working for yourself, you will not have any office-type support when problems arise or you need questions answered. Make sure you have a good support system and consider joining an association of self-employed work-at-home people.
Working from home can be a satifying way of redefining your worklife. With some careful planning and investment, it may be the best move you'll make.
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