Forget all the old advice about working from home; you know, “Dress as if you were going into the office, keep regular business hours, don’t get distracted by the laundry, etc.” Much of that advice, quite frankly, is dated.
For starters, it’s not uncommon to walk into an office and see folks dressed casually (maybe not in pajamas, but certainly in jeans). And even people who don’t work from home now take advantage of flexible hours, sometimes working four 10-hour days, instead of a regular five day work week.
So, why should you necessarily act like you’re in corporate America when you’re working from home?
7 Modern Success Tips for Working from Home:
1. Don’t be afraid to set your own hours. You may not be at your best from 9-5. You may work better from 10-6 or in 2-3 hour intervals. The advantage of working from home is that you have flexibility with your hours. If you need to be available at certain times for online meetings or conference calls, make sure you are. But don’t feel guilty if you want to take lunch at 11:00 or if you need to stop and change the laundry.
2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Prioritizing may seem like a “corporate” thing, but if you’re to be productive, you need to be able to focus on what matters most. It’s too easy anywhere, whether at the office or at home, to get caught up putting out fires. But if you know you are working from home with the exclusive goal of getting the budget completed or finishing XYZ project, make sure all your efforts are geared toward that one goal.
3. Check in with the boss so she doesn’t think you’re camped out in front of the television watching Maury and holding your breath for the next paternity test. As liberal as they may think they are, our bosses are still accountable to their bosses, so they want to make sure you really are working when you’re at home. Don’t unnecessarily bug your boss, but send her an instant message or an email with a progress update or a question about a project. This way, she knows you’re working.
4. Answer your phone and emails promptly. Don’t go MIA for hours at a time. Even if you are working, it can seem like you’re not if your bosses can’t get a hold of you for long blocks of time.
5. Don’t miss any deadlines. Period.
6. Hire a babysitter if you have small children. Children aren’t temporary distractions like the laundry or the dishes. If you have small children, they’ll want to be with you, and their requests will be nonstop until they have your 100 percent devoted attention. So, if you have any hope of successfully working from home, you must invest in a babysitter.
7. Don’t share too much personal information with your boss about your working from home time. So what if you went to the dentist or ran out on a quick shopping trip? Keep these details to yourself. The bottom line is that you got your work done, and if you did, you needn’t sully the boss’s impression of you by indicating that you were doing anything other than sitting diligently at your computer during standard business hours.