Working from home means reduced childcare, wardrobe, and gasoline expenses, plus a sense of freedom and control. But prior to trading the corporate nightmare for dreams of sipping coffee and working in pajamas, do a self assessment and make a plan for success.
Step One: Self Assessment
Consider the built-in advantages of an office environment and approximate those components in the home office. Clear expectations and regular monitoring by supervisors provide motivation in the workplace. Assessing the level of self motivation and independence outside of this office environment and building in discipline is necessary before making the transition to working at home.
The social aspects of an office environment can be replicated in a home office by taking 15-30 minute breaks every four hours to interact with others. Social moments can include talking to a neighbor, barista, or friend on Facebook. The time invested in social interaction will increase productivity.
Self assessment before transitioning to a home office should include an honest evaluation of the ability to be self-motivated without a supervisor on site and if one can incorporate social interaction throughout the day without becoming distracted from work.
Step Two: Research
Once a self assessment reveals the ability to work independently, research the precedent of telecommuting at the company. Do other employees work from home? Is the decision to allow an employee to work from home restricted to a certain type of job or is influenced by tenure at the company? Has management had positive experiences with other employees working from home?
Step Three: Proposal
Prepare and present a proposal to management for working at home. Include the advantages that working from home will have for the company and add a plan to communicate regularly with supervisors and staff. Also, build in a process for evaluating the new arrangement that includes a trial period to assess the success of working from home.
Step Four: Be Effective
While freedom is an inviting aspect of working from home, the mind may need to be trained to keep a schedule for maximum productivity. Create a schedule of being either on the job or on a break. In addition to brief social interactions throughout the day, go outside every four hours to absorb the sun’s rays. Stimulating the pineal gland and regulating the sleep-wake cycle, time in the sun helps one acclimate to the new work environment.
Step Five: Office Set-Up
Think about essential office equipment and supplies necessary for the job and have a conversation with management to see what the company will provide. Check online discount office equipment and make sure to get appropriate home office furniture that will yield productivity. Keep receipts for purchased items for reimbursement from the company or for a tax deduction.
Establish the work space in a quiet room that is used only for working to avoid distractions. Create a workspace that replicates the office environment, with a desk, computer, printer, fax machine, shelving unit, files and lamp.
With self-motivation and a plan for office communication, accountability, and socializing, working from home can promote freedom as well as save money and time. By assessing one’s ability to work independently as well as establishing a professional environment at home, the endeavor can benefit both the corporation and the worker.