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LIV President's Blog 2012

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How to work from home successfully

How to work from home successfully

With the rise of virtual and online firms and more workplaces adopting flexible work practices, an increasing number of people are working from whatever location is most convenient for them – usually home.

While working from home is great – it cuts out your commute and the need to put on a suit and do your hair – it can also produce challenges.

Here are some tips on how to work from home successfully.

Set up a dedicated workspace: While it doesn’t have to be a full home office, it should be away from distractions such as TV or neglected chores. Make sure the space is quiet so you can concentrate without interruptions and can take phone calls as needed.

Have the right technology: You should be able to complete tasks at home as easily as you can in the office. Make sure you set up your computer with the programs you need, and while this might sound antiquated, consider investing in other home office items such as a printer, scanner and even a fax machine, depending on how your firm or clients prefer to send information.

Get connected: If you’re going to work from home, you need to make sure you’re still able to communicate with those at the office. This means having good, reliable internet connection and ensuring your phone has reception in your workspace. One of the perceived benefits of working from home is that there are fewer interruptions so you can get more done, but you still need to be contactable.

Use the cloud: The cloud is an easy way to access everything you have on your work computer from home. While it’s likely your firm does use the cloud, if it doesn’t, you can still utilise services such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive to store and access work at home or in the office. When using the cloud you also need to think about security. Use this guide to help make your data as secure as possible and still convenient to access. Also be sure to check the terms and conditions and privacy policy of your cloud’s host.

Schedule your day: Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should eat el-desko and not have a proper lunch break. Plan your day to have dedicated breaks for coffee and lunch, just as you would at the office. There are scientific reasons that prove taking a break increases your productivity.

Set boundaries: One of the difficulties of working from home can be the inability to switch off or the temptation to get just one more thing done after dinner when the working day is officially over. When your work space and your home combine you need to be strict to separate work time and relaxation/family time, or the work/life balance benefits of working from home disappear.

Brief your family and friends: Family and friends may think that because you’re working from home, it’s ok to drop in for a coffee or call you for a chat. It isn’t. Even though you’re at home, you are still trying to adhere to normal work hours and have deadlines to meet. Explain this so you don’t have to deal with unwanted interruptions and distractions.

Stay in the loop: If you’re breaking up your working week by working some days from home, make sure you’re strategic about which days you choose. While staff meetings and weekly WIPs can sometimes be time suckers, they are also important to attend to stay up to date with what’s happening.

Attend networking events: If you work from home full time or part time, be sure to go to networking events – whether it be Friday night drinks with a co-worker or a formal networking event such as those run by the LIV. It can be easy to feel isolated or get cabin fever when you’re not interacting as much with your peers. These events can also be a great way to bounce ideas off other people and potentially pick up new business.

At the end of the day, working from home is a great opportunity afforded to us by technology. By following some of these tips it is possible to make working from home a success for you, your employer, and your family and friends.

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