Working from home advice, for the newly remote: here’s what you should do to be more comfortable.
Setting Up Your Workspace to Be Productive
If you’re new to remote jobs and want some working from home advice, the first item to cross of your productive list is how to set up your personal office. While you may be thinking “that’s easy, I’ve already read five thousand articles with working from home advice…I got this,” it can be surprisingly challenging to mix business with the pleasure and relaxation that you usually experience by being at home. But when you’re at home and have to work, the separation can mean the difference between getting a project done and getting fired. So it’s best to create your own working from home advice that is tailored specifically to you, perhaps with a little trial and error thrown in for fun.
The first thing you should be thinking about is where your home office or workspace will be located in your residence. Is it a noisy area? If you have children, pets, or domestic robots serving you root beer and coffee, will this disrupt your workflow? Is your space clean and quiet enough to create the necessary separation between “work” and “home” that you need to actually get things done and not simply look up cute photos of kitty cats? While these may sound like silly things to consider in terms of working at home advice, they’re just as important as purchasing an earpiece speaker for hands-free phone calls. or getting pre-inked stamps for important documents you may need to send off. After all, without a productive workspace, how is work going to get done?
The second thing you should think about is ergonomics – no, not economics (but hopefully you’re getting paid). When ergonomics is mentioned it is usually in relation to how a workspace and products are designed to be most efficient. You may have heard of an “ergonomic” chair or desk, and it’s because these things are commonly designed to be of the most useful and be worth purchasing. It makes sense if you think about it, to design your space, and collect your work items for ergonomic reasons. If your chair slopes forward, or pinches your bottom, are you going to get much work done? Similarly, if your desk is too small or too big will it be distracting? You want to set up your workspace with the products and layout that are most efficient toward getting your best work done. That’s working from home advice that really counts in your favor.
Finally, you need to make sure that there’s a clear separation in some way for your workspace that marks it as a designated “non-home” area. Do you have the printer, diploma, and forms you need? Is there an appropriate background for taking video calls or allowing clients to visit? While these things may seem small, they can make all the difference between you getting a contract for work and sulking in your pajamas for another day, lost in a YouTube rabbit hole.
How An Office Fundamentally Differs from Your Home
You may be wondering, “what’s even the difference between going into an office and working at my house? Don’t people run beauty salons and child care facilities out of their houses? If they can do it, I can do it.” You’re not wrong to think that, but it’s worth being reminded that there is a fundamental difference between a commercial office space and your domestic residence that you’ve re-tooled to be a money-making wonder zone.
For starters, if you’re an upper level professional like a personal injury lawyer or accountant, it can be difficult for people to adjust to seeing you professionally in a home environment. You may invite clients over and not have an appropriate place for everyone to sit, or have problems tidying up to give off that “professional” vibe that is simply omnipresent in a commercial environment. As such you’ll want to invest in residential roofing services and maybe even an architect to make your home more inviting for clientele.
As was previously mentioned, some great working from home advice is that you want to have clean and professional backgrounds for video calls and virtual meetings so that people still take you seriously and want to pay money for your services. It’s OK that you still have a poster from Michael Jackson’s 1993 world tour, but keep it out of your computer’s webcam view.
The home environment isn’t all great though, and it does have its downsides. Sometimes it can be hard to collaborate with teams that you’re used to fielding products and demonstrations from in person, such as marketing consultants or art directors. Yes, they can email you product specs and you can view everything on a screen, but sometimes it doesn’t have the great jazz and pizzaz that it would in real life. Or if you’re in the food industry and trying to make a new product, you miss out on the taste and smell of things unless they mail you a sample. While these tasks can all be achieved remotely, it may require some creativity, overnight shipping, and downright ingenuity to get it right and re-create the previous working experience.
The Myriad of Benefits in Working from Home
When we think of the benefits of solo work, some of them are obvious: reduced gas expenses because of no office commute, elimination of co-worker aggression, or theft from the communal refrigerator, no more terrible mud coffee, and much more. Your income will actually go up simply by eliminating a variety of expenses, especially if you’re part of the growing IT jobs industry. This is even more important if you are already adept at computer repair on your own. Regardless, you can still call a reputable company when your computer starts to have issues.
And while you can technically wake up whenever you want, it’s probably best to set the alarm for the same time just so that you don’t get yelled at for missing the 9 AM conference call (that’s just a bit of working from home advice for you).
Working from home has its benefits in health savings on your body as well. Since you’re probably not having to engage in physical labor like those who are HVAC contractors or working at a residential roofing company, the likelihood of incurring injuries that result in costly doctors visits and new medications is extremely low.
And while you may not feel as engaged or present in your job (especially if you’re used to being somewhere) as you would if you were providing plumbing repair or backing up a truck for dumpster service, be grateful that telecommuting doesn’t come with the myriad of odd smells that mark the former occupations.
Another positive in working from home is the ability to be working multiple jobs at once, even at the same time. What would have previously been impossible when stuck in an office or on the phone with a client can be multi-tasked in a variety of ways. From working on the phone while writing an email or submitting online forms and crunching data in between breaks, it’s now possible to work two complete jobs at the same time. The sky’s the limit with how much you want to earn, learn or burn through daylight. All you need is a good internet connection to compliment that smart head on your shoulders.
Treat Yourself Like the CEO at Home
While it can sometimes be isolating (and frankly, boring) to do work inside your own house, it doesn’t have to be. The benefit of being in your own dwelling is that you have full control over the environment, and that’s working from home advice that you can take straight to the bank. Want espresso with raspberry donuts every morning? Make it happen and either do it yourself or invest in a delivery service. Always wanted a jazz hour at the 2 PM slowdown? Crank up those tunes and dance like it’s 1958. When you’re in your home office, you’re the CEO (even if you’re a virtual secretary). Just be sure to hire that HVAC contractor to ensure your office environment is the most comfortable that it can be.
Though the suggestions may seem silly, there is a bit of weight to them backed up in the psychological literature in discussing personal freedom and how at-home workers benefit. While remote workers tend to log more hours then their office or commercial space-bound counterparts, the freedom that is granted by being on your own at home can work wonders for the mind. Not just in terms of being able to dress for comfort and show up to work one minute before a phone call, but simply being able to use your own bathroom (with that amazing toilet paper and the lavender candles) as opposed to the sterile environment of an office. So when you’re at home, remember…you’re the CEO of this ship. Steer it toward good times and productive enterprises.
Fire Your Boss and Do Your Own Thing
So far in this article, the focus has been on how to work for someone else or some distant company, making them money from afar by applying your own sweat, labor, and brains. But what if you don’t want to work for someone else? What if you want to be the own master of your economic domain and keep (most) of everything you earn and use dollars as motivation? While you’ve always been able to start your own business, it’s never been easier to do it without a storefront, inventory, and multiple employees. You no longer need building insurance, separate electric bills, or to worry about who’s going to professionally make your business sign. You can have it all…online.
From social media to Shopify, it’s now easier than ever to have some sort of home business that has all the potential to rake you in the big bucks. Depending on how much you’re willing to work and what you’re selling (goods or services), there are buyers out there. If you have expertise and ingenuity that you’d like to convey, consider starting a YouTube show or a podcast. You can convey knowledge on a limited basis (such as explaining a particular law) while also pointing back to your professional services (as a lawyer to represent specific people). Your know-how becomes your advertising and makes the world a richer place while appropriating helping your pocketbook.
Hosting an online store has also quickly become a no-brainer, with sites like WooCommerce, Shopify, and many others happy to host images and descriptions of products you’d like to sell directly to customers. Some will even provide inventory services so that you can stock products and not have to store them at your home, like a professional corporation. With a solo business, the reward can be high if you put in the effort and believe in the product you’re selling.
Give a Hoot, Telecommute!
Perhaps it has been odd to read this article if you’re used to working in an office, factory, deli or ice cream shop, but be forewarned that telecommuting and working from home is the future. Far from being thrust into a brave new world, working from home advice will become all the more common and the articles will weave intricacies that we used to reserve for episodes of “The Office” when observing Jim and Pam’s pranks. In fact, by 2027 it is estimated that there will be more than 86 million people freelancing. That’s a lot of emails, coffee breaks and ergonomic chairs that will need to be sold.
It is both a brave new world and bright new possibilities that we are moving into, if only people are willing to adapt. No longer bound by geography or company towns, your labor and skills are free to be plied anywhere that you have the ability to get your foot in the door. With the advent of various social media platforms and online shops, you don’t even have to have a boss if you don’t want to. You can be the CEO of your own destiny to the most dollars you can earn. While this can all be mind-boggling and frantic, perhaps the best working from home advice you can give is to yourself: settle into this new world in style and grace with a dash of professionalism, you got this.