Working from home through IP telephony can be great, but there are some pitfalls that can derail your efforts if you don’t know how to deal with them. Use these do’s and don’ts to help yourself stay motivated, and to make your home office a success.
- Get dressed every day. You may be working from home, but that doesn’t mean you get to loaf around in your pajamas all day! You don’t have to wear a suit, but get out of your bedclothes and into something normal.
- Open your curtains and let some light in. It’s not good to stay in the dark all the time; natural light will elevate your mood and stimulate alertness. If the weather is good, open a window to let in some fresh air.
- Take a lunch break. Working for eight hours straight, all by yourself, is enough to make anyone a little stir-crazy. If you have time, get out for a walk, or meet up with a friend so you get the human contact you’re missing by working from home.
- Set aside a proper workspace. Placement can make a lot of difference in your level of productivity; if you’re close to your TV or your kitchen, you may find yourself distracted by your favorite show or those dirty dishes in the sink. Try to make your workspace a distraction-free zone- make an effort to keep non-work-related items out of your office, and you’ll be able to focus more on the task at hand.
- Handle personal business during work time. If you work from home, many times family and friends assume that you can take calls whenever you want, do things for them at their convenience, and just do your work later. They can call during your lunch break and expect YOU to work around THEIR schedule. If you’ve already explained tha you can’t talk during work hours, but they call and come around anyway, you may want to get an answering machine. Not being always-accessible may be off-putting to some of your friends and family, but your livelihood is important, too!
- Obsessively check your email. Make a plan and stick to it; if you get a lot of work-related email, you can get by checking it every few hours. Anyone can wait for an email reply, so don’t feel obligated to reply right away.
- Work too hard. If you can work smartly and efficiently during work hours, you won’t have to do “overtime”- after hours and on the weekends. Working smart leaves you with more time to spend with family, and getting out of the house on your time off will make you a better worker.
Remote working isn’t for everyone, and it won’t work for every job. Running an efficient home office takes dedication, motivation and a certain degree of self-discipline. Don’t let your work take over your life, but stay focused, set aside a proper workspace, take time to get dressed every day, and take breaks as needed- and you’ll make it through your work days without feeling isolated.
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