After looking to work from home for so long and you finally land that dream job, you want to be sure to keep it.
Working from home to avoid long commutes, dress codes and office politics are some amazing benefits that you don’t want to take for granted and end up losing.
You still have a job to do and as I mentioned in my blog “Is it Worth It!” there are some extra expectations for those that telecommute.
If you are fortunate enough to have started your own business like us by using the online training and support Wealthy Affiliate then many of these rules not need to apply to you.
The following rules will help you set boundaries for that fuzzy line between work and home life.
Set Up Home Office or Work Zone
Although you don’t need to commute out of your house, we find setting up an area that is dedicated to your telecommute work.
It will help you distinguish between work time and home time. It is a good idea to keep this are or office in a quiet area in the home. Many people are turning to backyard office sheds to make that distinction.
Keep Steady Work Hours
Having that distinct work area will queue you when you start work, that its’s time to get busy and when you are done.
It will make it easier to leave it behind and sign off at the end of your shift. If you have flexible work hours it would be a good idea to track the amount of time you are putting in every day.
Avoid the pitfalls of feeling like you need to put more hours in because you work from home.
One of the advantages of working from home means you don’t need to follow dress codes.
That doesn’t mean you can become a reclusive slob. Your personal appearance will have a direct influence on the quality of your work over time as you stay at home.
Follow a daily routine as if you were having to go into the office. The only exception is that you don’t need to get dressed up to the office standards…just don’t stay in your pajamas, not cool. We may all joke about it but staying in your cozy pajamas all day, every day will affect your mood and that will reflect in your work.
Get Outside Daily
It is important to see what is happening out in the real world. Remember you don’t want to turn into a reclusive slob. Staying in pajamas, poor hygiene and piling up the pizza boxes from the daily deliveries will not keep you working from home very long.
It is a good idea to get out of the home office, take a quick walk, get a coffee or sit on the deck. Getting some fresh air and change of environment will actually help increase your work production and improve your creative side. Sometimes you just need to shake it off, and taking a break outdoors will do the trick.
As mentioned in the previous rule, you need to take breaks. You do not need to get outside for each break but taking your regular breaks are important. Telecommuting jobs usually involve sitting in front of a computer and phone for hours per day. It is important to stand, stretch and walk several times a day. We must remember that we are still human. Until they can replace us with computers or robots we still need to take care of our bodies.
Contact Your Colleagues
Keep in touch with your work colleagues. Whether they are at the office or at their home office. It is important to know who you are working with and build work related relationships. Getting along with work colleagues will help even out the workload assignments.
Telecommuters do have that increased worry that if not seen, not remembered. Keeping in touch regularly, attending meetings in person, video or teleconference will keep that worry to a minimum.
Separate Work and Home Duties
When you are sitting in your home office and see some dust on the window ledge or some clothes left t o fold in the other room…Resist.
Stick with your routine and focus on your work during work hours. If you take your scheduled break time and decide to do some of your home chores during that time, then it is an option. Instead of trying to bits and pieces of cleaning and laundry during work hours it will affect your work quality and focus. It is better to schedule 2-3 hours in your weekly schedule to do the cleaning. Same as you only focus on your work during work hours, when you are scheduled for cleaning duty don’t start turning towards your computer and let yourself get distracted from cleaning.
Avoid Running Errands
Similar to the house cleaning and laundry duties, avoid running errands during work hours. If you have to run errands it is better to do during your lunch break. If you have no choice then it is better to communicate with your boss or colleagues that you have to run a specific errand or appointment and you will flex your time by working later into the evening. Make sure you put in your expected amount of hours.
Maintain a Routine
When transitioning from the office to a work from home office try to keep your morning and evening routine the same. This way you will keep your biological clock in sync and you can avoid becoming an introverted home working slob. Keeping a routine will keep you on track to complete your daily home tasks and keep them separate from your work tasks.
Avoid Becoming a Daycare or Pet Caregiver
Many people will think that now you work from home that you can just take care of their children or pets for them at a moments notice. Avoid volunteering your work from home privileges to care for other people’s children or pets. They will certainly distract you from your work duties. There may be times that you can assist somebody out of a bind but you must set clear boundaries to what you can or can’t do.
All of these 10 rules will help you maintain your work from home privileges. In summary, the key is to continue to separate your work time from your home / off the clock time.
Depending on the type of work you do, there can be some flexibility on how you implement theses rules.
If you are having a difficult time keeping the 2 apart then it would be suggested you create a visual day timer where you can monitor how much work time you’ve put in versus off time.
Although the listed rules may be more focused towards a telecommute job situation, the same rules can apply to someone that has a business that can be done from home or anywhere around the world.
Have a question or comment, place them below we would love to hear from you.