Writer: Alison Scott Dean
How to Successfully Work From Home
“Americans who telecommute for work are doing so for increased amounts of time. According to a Gallup survey, the number of workers who work one day or less from home shrank from 34% to 25% between 2012 and 2016. In the same time period, the number of people working remotely four or five days a week rose from 24% to 31%
. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace
report, 43% of Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely last year, up from 39% in 2012.” (17 Stats About Remote Work in 2018
We can safely assume the number of people working remotely will continue to grow; for some it might be their very first job or, for someone like me, on the heels of 16 years of working in an office environment! Forbes released How to Successfully Work From Home
; below you’ll find my take on the expert’s suggestions 10 months in to working remotely.
You MUST be organized! Without the benefit of being around my coworkers to stay on top of projects and deadlines in which we’re all involved, it’s crucial that I pay extra attention to details.
Have a set work space.
One of the benefits of working remotely is the ability to be mobile; even if I am at home in Seattle, I could choose to work at a coffee shop or the neighborhood library, even my living room when it’s sunny out. However, I do have a desk in our second bedroom with 2 screens allowing me to feel as if I have all of the tools I’d have if I was in the office.
Avoid home distractions.
Toughest challenge, in my opinion! Mostly, this is due to social media and my cute cats. Therefore, I sometimes close all social media platforms and try not to bother the cats while they’re napping so that I can stay focused.
Set office hours.
This will of course depend on the day; however, when at home, I have typical office hours (8a-5p) and while traveling, often I will work into the evening hours to stay on top of projects as my goal is to have as many in-person meetings with alumni and corporate partners during the day as possible. Setting hours of work allows you to maintain your work/life balance.
We’ve heard so much lately about how sitting is dangerous
for your health; be sure to augment your schedule with breaks during the day and some physical activity to balance out the sitting. Also, one can only look at a computer screen for so long!
Get out of the house.
Go to the gym, take a class, take a walk, meet a friend for lunch; find a way to get out at least once a day to help maintain your sanity and to feel like a ‘normal’ human!
Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Preparation is key! Fill your home with healthy snacks and foods, you’ll have greater access and time to snack/eat/drink, set yourself up for success. Seek out a gym/yoga studio membership nearby; many offer classes in the morning, at lunchtime, and in the evening. A morning class gets you out of the house first-thing and you’ll feel energized for the day! Taking care of your body and mind will allow you to do better work and be a happier, healthier person.
Set up a Skype-friendly environment.
Your co-workers and other contacts don’t want to see a bunch of clutter, nor is that professional! Ensure the background others might see in a video meeting/call is professional and non-distracting.
Avoid multitasking and stay focused.
I personally struggle with this as I sometimes find I have 10 emails started, 15 browser windows open, and too many google sheets/docs to count! Try to tackle one thing at a time, prioritize, and you’ll feel less scattered and more productive.
Thus far, voice-time has been as effective for me as facetime and often, I don’t feel “camera-ready”. It’s no secret women tend to have more expectations to have styled hair and office-appropriate makeup; a subject of recent controversy
Feel free to contact me with any questions or to chat about working remotely!