Basic Work From Home Rules For Those Getting Started

by WorkFromHome on December 5, 2011

For many people, making the transition from a traditional work setting to working from home can be a confusing experience. Although working from home provides a lot of freedoms, it is a professional environment vastly different from what people are used to experiencing. There are no coworkers to gossip with or bounce ideas off of and no rules about office attire or project deadlines. All too often this leaves people feeling isolated and without direction. In addition, there are also new distractions, such as household chores or family schedules, that were always at a distance when working outside of the home. The only way to adapt to this situation is to realize that working from your home requires following basic rules that help maintain a productive environment. Here are some rules that can make the transition to working from home much easier.

Have Realistic Expectations

Most people dream of working from home because of the freedom it provides to work when you want, wear what you want and not be confined to a typical 9 to 5 schedule. Although all of these things are true, the reality of doing work from home is that it often requires more hours, a disciplined schedule and a need to avoid new distractions. As in any professional endeavor, life is not always going to be all rosy. There are going to be new pressures from family and friends as they adapt to your new work situation and self-inflicted pressures from feeling that you have to do everything at once. The only way to stay productive is to constantly maintain realistic expectations and know that successfully working at home means concentrating on the work.

Maintain A Consistent Work Schedule

As with any profession, maintaining a consistent work schedule is vital to success. The nice thing about working from home is that the hours can be during the day or in the middle of the night. The important point is that it doesn’t matter when you work as long as you stay on schedule. When working from home it is all too easy to fall into a pattern of working a few hours, stopping to complete household chores and then working for a few more hours. In the long run this can be very counterproductive. Maintaining a consistent schedule will not only keep you more focused, but also help family and friends better understand when you are available and when you should be left alone to complete your work.

Dress Appropriately

While it may seem like a trivial matter on the surface, how you dress is important. It has a major impact on how your mind as how it relates to your professional attitude. Sure, you can be more relaxed about what you wear, but it should not be to the point of constantly working in a bathrobe and slippers. Dress in a manner that would be acceptable in a casual office setting. Changing cloths after you are done working is also a good way to help your mind separate work from leisure time.

Stay Connected

If you are working in an isolated setting, find ways to stay connected with people. Allow yourself breaks to go out to lunch with a friend or an old coworker. Spend a little time in online chat rooms or take some time to do some shopping. Being isolated for long periods of time can be nerve-racking and has been proven by numerous studies to be detrimental to positive mental health. Although it may not have seemed like it at the time, those little chats around the water cooler about the latest ball games or television shows were important. Humans are social creatures by nature and to stay productive you will need to have constant interactions that go beyond a friendly hello to the neighbors.

Evaluate Yourself

Although it may seem like a blessing to no longer sweat through performance evaluations, they are important for keeping you focused and productive. When working from home it becomes all too easy to forget that you are the boss of yourself. In that role, it is a good thing to evaluate yourself on a regular basis. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Find a sample performance evaluation online and adapt to your own use. After you have completed several of them it will be easy to compare your answers and determine if you are moving forward or backwards in meeting your goals.

Be Good To Yourself

When work in your own home it becomes easy to let work overwhelm you. Make it a priority to take the time you need to relax and refresh both your body and mind. Not doing so will only lead to burning out in very unpleasant ways.

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