There’s no shortage of brouhaha over Marissa Mayer’s decision to put the kibosh on Yahoo!’s employees working from home.
The inarguable fact is, however, that working from home is a reality for an increasing number of professionals. From owning your own business to part-time and even full-time in-home office situations for corporate employees, out of the office is the new in-office.
How do you make working from home a success for your business and career?
Today, we have some tips to help you stay productive, stay sane, and avoid whiling the day away on your Xbox when your project list is piling up.
It’s tempting to go about your work-from-home day in bunny slippers and pajama bottoms, but you’re probably going to get more done if you treat each day like you’re going to a real office. You know — a real office with other people in it who got dresses every day. While yes, there will be bunny slipper days, getting dressed puts you in a different frame of mind and sets your day up for productivity inside your home office. It even lets you run errands with ease when you need a break (saves the mad dash for something “presentable” to wear).
Have an Office with a Door
A sage piece of advice from Gini Dietrich out of Chicago, creator of the Spin Sucks blog. During a recent interview with Sarah Evans, she harvested some work-from-home gems like this one — and office with a door — to help you avoid distractions. When you have an official “in-home office”, it’s a lot easier to shut out the rest of the world from distractions if you can simply pull a door shut.
Have Set Work Hours
When working from home, it’s easy to lose track of your boundaries. Everything, after all, is home. And office. And your laptop can go anywhere. Leo Babuta over at Zen Habits has a great list of work-from-home tips (see tips 2 and 18) and offers simple advice about setting your work hours and sticking to them. Start your day and know when to call it a day.
Communicate Clearly, and Regularly
When working remotely from a traditional office situation, it’s important to let your team and boss know that you really are working. Business Insider offered tips for maintaining communications while you’re outside the office. Know when people expect to hear from you and why and hold up your end of the communication — and remote office — bargain. Going down-periscope on the company’s dime? Probably not the best approach.
Avoid “The Lonely”
It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re working from home. But how do you find some human interaction without the distractions? Try a coworking space. Coffee shops tend to have music blaring and endless distractions. Coworking spaces are filled with people…working…and can be the ideal balance for work-from-home folks. Just the right amount of human interaction combined with a clear work-related destination filled with people who are also trying to get things done.
For Employers, Have a Clear Policy
If you’re an employer offering telecommuting or other more permanent work-from-home type arrangements for employees, make sure it’s in writing. Randy Conley over at Blanchard Leader Chat offers six tips for creating a work-from-home policy for employers. Performance issues are key — know how you’ll evaluate and if needed correct discrepancies with your work-from-home team. Not everyone will need correction if your hiring process is dedicated to a good culture fit, but you need policies in place to remind both your company and employees — this is a team effort.