Now that computers are essential in everything we do, we have jobs that can be done entirely online. Working from home can be a great experience. It can be a great thing to do if you can work effectively. You need to have concentration skills to keep on your work, and you need to manage your time effectively. This is especially true if you are working on multiple projects/jobs.
Should you work at home?
Many people fantasize about being able to work from home. When you are stuck in the office grind, working from home can seem easy. You just think you can hang out in your pajamas with your family. Working at home is still working, and it can be very hard work. You need to have plenty of discipline to stay on task. Also, the line between work and home gets blurred.
Working from home is definitely not for everyone. If you are the type of person that needs someone else to keep you on track, you may have trouble when you are working alone. This is not a bad thing, but some people need that push to get things done. Do some hard self-evaluation before committing to working in a home office; if you do this now, you can increase your productivity when you do start working.
Here are some tips to help you increase your productivity in your work at home career:
Make a list of things you need to do each day. Even if you have other things going on, make sure that you write down what you need to do each day. Do that and stick to your plan.
This may not seem necessary, but keep yourself in a routine of getting up, getting showered, and getting dressed as if you were going to an office. This is especially true if your work requires you to use a webcam. Doing this can help put you in the work frame of mind. If you are sitting around in your pajamas, you will feel sluggish and lazy.
Make a system for family members. Put up a sign on your door saying that you can't be disturbed. You can try using a piece of construction paper. Put up a red light when you can't be disturbed, put on a green light when it's ok for your family to come in. Also, don't have friends over if you need to work. It may be tempting to just hang out with friends for a short break, but if you do that too much you can't get your work done.
Enjoy The Flexibility
Sometimes, you just need to take a break. Even for a few minutes. Try taking your computer to a cafe for a change of scenery. Play with your pets a few minutes. Occasionally, eat a meal at an actual table instead of your desk. I'm guilty of this myself.
Set Up Your Space
If you are lucky enough to have a separate room to work in, take the time and customize it. Splurge on a good comfortable chair, a headset if you make lots of calls. Keep it nice, but free from distractions.
Set up a specific working schedule to help you stay productive. Make sure your boss and coworkers know, so they can know when to call. It also helps keep you from working all night. When you are done for the day, you can step back out of the office. When you are working at home, it's easy to become a workoholic. You need to have a signal to signify the end of your work day, since you don't have that separation of coming home from the office.
Don't Volunteer Too Much
This is an easy pit to fall into. Your family may think that you have all the time in the world if you are working at home. You may be asked to run a lot of errands. Be careful not to do this too much. Point out to your family that you do have a job, even though you don't have a building to go to work in.
Bottom line: If you have what it takes, go for your dreams. Once you get all of these things figured out, you can be successful while working from home.