The lure of working from home is a strong one for many. Who wouldn’t want to be their own supervisor, working where they want and wearing what they choose? Working from home is as much about structure as it is about flexibility, and a way to save money. Anyone can successfully pursue a career at home as long as they set a few basic rules and, more importantly, follow those rules.
Decide What Type of Work You Will Do
If the opportunity to take your existing position out of the cubicle and into your apartment exists, then one big decision is made for you. If, however, you’re deciding to begin a work-at-home career after a period of being out of the workforce, then you must decide whether you will draw on your previous experience or try something new. Did you work as a customer service representative or in sales? Perhaps working in customer service through a company who “home sources” will be the right choice. Did you work in a medical setting? You may consider training for a career such as medical billing that is easily done from home, but requires a knowledge of medical terminology. Another option is to take a hobby and pursue it professionally.
Working from home means you will have to provide your own technical support, be the person in charge of ordering supplies and keeping the books, and serve as your own trouble-shooter for everything. As appealing as it may be to work sitting at your kitchen table or propped up with your laptop in bed, avoid this temptation. Just as in any office, ergonomics is important. Take the time to make sure you have a desk, chair, shelves and cabinets that are dedicated to work. Don’t store the kids’ art supplies with your office supplies. If you don’t have the luxury of a separate room to use as your office, get creative. Block off a section of your bedroom with a bookshelf divider or partition. A flexible schedule is a benefit of working from home, but if you’re setting your own hours be consistent. Let others know when you’re working to avoid interruption. Have a phone line for business purposes only. Invest in a noise-cancelling headsets and lock the door!
Dress for Success
One familiar mantra of the home-based employee is, “I get to work in my pajamas!” While it’s not necessary to put on a suit and tie or wear heels all day as you take customer service calls in your basement, it is imperative that during working hours you maintain a professional mindset. Just get dressed, brush your teeth, put on your watch and earrings–whatever you would do if you were to prepare for working outside the home, within reason. You might find that a subtle change in your attitude will be reflected in your level of efficiency if you take the time to groom yourself before the work day begins.
Anyone can make their dream of working from home a reality. To be successful and fulfilled, take the time to plan your home-based career path, organize your dedicated workspace, and prepare mentally. Above all, be the best boss you’ve ever had, and treat yourself like the valuable employee you are.