How to Succeed in a Work From Home Job

Work from home

For those of us who have spent our careers in an office, a working from home sounds like a dream!  No commute, no dress code, no co-workers stealing your lunch from the shared fridge and best of all, a lot fewer interruptions than those open office floor plans.  While working from home can be pretty attractive.  Glassdoor just released a list of 20 legitimate companies that offer work from home opportunities.

The downsides:

While the grass may seem greener at home for those of us fighting traffic each morning, be aware that there are some disadvantages associated with working from home.  There are still distractions, though it shifts from your loud cubicle mate to your unending pile of laundry, dirty dishes or other nagging projects around the house.  The other major complaint about those who work from home full-time is that it’s tough to maintain separation between work and personal life.  When you go to an office every day, it’s easier to ‘turn work off’ when you walk out the door.

Working from home can be isolating.  If you’re an extrovert and thrive on working with other people, work from home job might not be for you.  When applying to work from home positions, asking questions about how the team interfaces with each other might be helpful.  You’ll want to know how much of your time will be spent communicating with other people versus independent work and make sure that balance fits your personal needs.  


Tips for work from home success:

Have a dedicated office spaceWork from home office

To help with the separation from work and home, designate a spot just for work.  If you have space in your house, appoint an office area. Try only to use that space for work and minimize the distractions in the room.  Being able to shut the door is helpful too, especially at the end of the day.  When you are done for the day, close the door and walk away from the work.  Unless it’s an expectation of the job, don’t monitor emails and calls after hours to help you preserve a work-life balance.

Establish a routine

Set the alarm each morning and create a pre-work routine.  Change out of your pajamas at the very least.  Having a morning routine will help you transition into a working mindset for the day and build a better separation.  The same goes for the end of the day too.  After work, take some time for yourself and unwind.  Maybe that’s going for a walk with your furry office mate, hitting the gym, throwing on sweats and catching up on a favorite show.  Having a transition period after work will signal that the work is over.


Get out of the house

Work from home - get outside From time to time, you will need some human interaction.  Getting out of the house will force you to put pants on and give you a change of scenery.  When I asked some work from home veterans for their tips, this was a common theme.  One friend recommended going to the gym for a workout at lunchtime, while another suggested never eating lunch at home.  Another option is to join some extracurricular activity.  Maybe you get involved with a sports team, a regular art class, or some recurring community service project.  Whatever it is, make an effort to get in-person interaction on a daily basis.


Connect with your teamWork From home - Connect with the team

 Make time on a regular basis to connect with your team members.  That could be one-on-one meetings or whole group meetings.  If your entire team works from home, building that rapport and having the chance to collaborate with each other on current work happening will help you feel much less isolated.  If you’re a virtual member of a local team, you might need to over-communicate, so you’re not getting left out or overlooked.  Visiting the office on a regular basis helps too if your employer is open to that.

Getting Started

Once you decide you would rather work from home, there are a couple of different approaches you can take.  If you’re already employed, talk to your boss and to get an understanding of what your options might be.  It’s easier to make these arrangements at a place where you have an established relationship, and they know the quality of work that you produce.  Sometimes due to the nature of the business and type of position you have, that’s not always possible.  Although it might be a bit more challenging to find a legitimate remote or work from home type of job, they do exist.   Before you provide any personal information to companies, be sure to do your research to ensure the business is legitimate.  There are a lot of “work from home” opportunities out there that are too good to be true.

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