Working from Home? Here’s 3 Tips for Success

I am lucky enough to be in a position in which I am able to work from my apartment one day a week. I began working from home because I must reverse commute from Chicago to the suburbs. Unfortunately, there is no train or bus that gets me to work cheaper or faster, yet it still takes me over an hour (sometimes two on the way home) each way.

Working from home makes my life easier for several reasons:

  • It saves money on gas because I get to take one day off of the commute. It doesn’t sound like much, but it really makes a difference!
  • It greatly improves my productivity as the office can be distracting at times.
  • It improves my mood. It is amazing how grouchy being alone in a car makes you. It can be very mentally and emotionally draining.
  • I can do laundry on my lunch hour. I live in a building with 30+ residents and only 2 machines. Nights and weekends are impossible to obtain a machine to do just one load.

On top of that, I end up working more hours at home, as I am able to wake up and head right to my computer and don’t have the added stress of needing to present myself to the public… i.e. I am able to work in my pj’s. I also don’t have the dreaded feeling at 5 PM when I check my traffic app and see it’s going to be at least 1 hour and 45 minutes before I pull into my parking spot. It really lowers my anxiety levels when I can be comfortable in my own apartment. It also allows me to do my best work.

That being said, working from home is not for everyone. Some people are easily distracted by television, cleaning and home improvements. Here are 3 tips to help you have a successful work from home day:

1. Plan out your day the night before. It helps to go to bed knowing what time you are going to start your day and what you need to accomplish. Review any conference calls you need to be prepared for and make sure your cell is charged up. Create a space that will not distract you from your work. Don’t work from your bed or plop down in front of the television. Clear off your kitchen table or post up at a desk. 

working from home tips

2. Stick to a schedule. This is very important! Wake up, eat breakfast, sit down at your computer.  Break for lunch and run any errands you need to run at noon. It is important to stick to a schedule or else you may find yourself at 5 PM asking yourself “What did I do today?”

3. Check in with the office. I try to talk with my manager at least once a day on the phone, if not more. I also make it a point to check in with my peers via email or our internal chat program. If it helps, keep a list as you accomplish goals or move forward in projects for the day. That way when you chat with the office, you can easily recap what you’ve been working on.

Do you have any other tips for working from home? Share them in the comments below.