December 15, 2015

6 Ways to Make Working From Home Work For You

From suburban Kansas to Long Island, Amy Herman dives into how to be productive and still love working from home

In June I traded my cubicle in a suburban Kansas City office park for an Ikea desk in a pint-sized New York apartment.  I know what you’re thinking, “You are so lucky to get to work from home!” And while I do in fact feel lucky much of the time, I didn’t expect that transitioning to a remote position would have so many challenges – aside from learning how to assemble cheap Swedish furniture. If you’re going through the same thing or considering it in the future, here are a few things that have helped me make the transition as painless as possible.

Mark your territory: Without the need to put on your office attire and commute to work it can be difficult to transition into “work-mode” in the home. Therefore, it’s important to dress professionally and have a clearly demarcated work zone so that when you enter it you know that it’s time to be productive.  Preferably carve out your space away from a television or the fridge/pantry so that snack time isn’t all the time.

Defend your turf: It’s important that any housemates (my new husband in my scenario) recognize that part of the home is an office and needs to be treated as such. Just as your significant other wouldn’t come into your office and kick his or her feet up on the table and flip on the game – your new territory needs to be similarly respected (during business hours at the minimum) so that your work space is suitable for getting things done.

Eliminate the web-browsing black hole: This goes for in the office setting too but without co-workers behind your back the temptation is greater than ever to search for the latest celebrity gossip or online sale. A good way to eliminate this is to keep your “fun” web searches to a second device like an iPad so that a boundary exists. Just make sure to keep your iPad out of arm’s reach too.

Treat yourself: When creating your office at home it’s easy and reasonable to want to save money (see aforementioned Ikea desk) but there are certain things that you shouldn’t be hesitant to splurge on. For example – the monitor that you stare at or the desk chair that you sit on all day. It’s tempting to get the $40 chair at WalMart but it’s worth shopping around online to get a well-made office chair at a reasonable price. You’ll probably end up upgrading at some point so you might as well make the initial investment first.  Your back will thank you later.

Schedule your day - including exercise:  Even though you’re now literally sleeping at your new office you shouldn’t be expected to think about work all the time. It’s important to break up your day into segments (preferably on an actual day planner) so that you know when it’s time to clock-in and out. It’s also more important than ever to schedule fitness breaks since your life now runs the risk of being more sedentary than ever. Hopefully you’ll have access to an elliptical or treadmill but if not, you can even buy a “stepper” to place under your desk and burn off all of those easily-accessible snacks.

Stay connected: While it’s easier in our line of work to stay connected it’s important to reach out and engage with others. Get out in front of clients as much as possible and schedule some face-time via Webcam with your colleagues and bosses. Texting and e-mail are great for convenience but more personal interaction maintains your motivation and improves your attitude.

Working from home can be a great experience, just remember to make a few adjustments to ensure your workspace is productive and fits your new needs as a “stay-at-home” worker.

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Amy Herman

As Director of Executive and Professional Search, Amy helps companies navigate the recruiting world and help TSP achieve total world domination, one hire at a time. Before mastering the art of recruiting, she worked in sales for in the Kansas City area. Amy has a Bachelor’s degree from California State University- Chico, loves playing tennis and ping pong, and catching up on the latest seasons of anything on HBO.



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