With the cost of doing business on the rise, more and more companies are allowing their employees to work from home in order to cut down on overhead and, hopefully, be more independent and productive.
10 Home Work Tips
1. Develop a process.
2. Set up workspace.
3. Avoid distractions.
4. Focus on rewards.
5. Get organized.
6. Take breaks.
7. Keep in touch.
8. Embrace your workday.
9. Emphasize strengths.
10. Stay on target.
Scott Lift Truck has five reps who work out of home offices. Many of us spend more time working there than at the company location because of the high cost of just getting out into the field. I have been working out of a home office for about five years now, selling aftermarket parts nationally and capital equipment locally. Working from home is harder than one may think.
My friends tell me how lucky I am for not being “chained to a desk” or in a cube all day, and that I am on easy street. I tell them that the best part about working from home is that I am home. And the worst part about working from home is, I am home. There are many pitfalls to being alone all day with your thoughts that can lead to distraction, and ultimately hinder your potential for success. Here are some simple tips that I think help me day in and day out at the home office.
Have a Process for Your Workday – It is too easy just to fly by the seat of your pants and, in the long run, too costly for success. Write out a procedure for morning, midday and evening to which you will stick. It will help bring some order into the day, much like a normal office setting, and should help you stay on task. For instance, I make my follow-up calls in the morning from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m., and my mailers after that.
Set Up a Workspace or Room for Your Office – This one sounds too obvious, but it will make life easier when everything is in one place. This will also help with keeping work and home separate during the day. You should not be doing quotes in front of the TV or running to another room to fax something. Keeping your work materials away from your household things will help you keep your brain on task and not on the laundry or something else.
Avoid Distractions – When no one is watching, it’s easy to stray, so make sure these things are not part of your office: television, PlayStation, magazines, etc. Your office is supposed to help you MAKE MONEY. Knowing what happened on Days of Our Lives will not.
Reminders to Inspire – Hang up or place things around you that will help you keep working, like sales goals, bonuses you can win, or prizes and achievements you have received. It’s easy to rest on your laurels, and goals will help you keep focused on the rewards.
Get Organized – Now that you have a setup you can live with, it helps to know where everything is. Have software for customers at work? Get that database for your home office too. Fighting paper stacks and sticky notes to find what you need is time wasted. Get a computer, fax and anything else that will make it easier and more efficient to work from home. The more tools you have from HQ, the better you will perform at what matters most.
Take Breaks – Sometimes it seems like you are getting nowhere and your task list is too large to conquer. Take 15 minutes and walk away. Clearing your mind and changing your surroundings for a short time will help you creatively and emotionally with what you are doing.
Keep in Touch – Taking a breather is fine, but you can’t slack off and expect to be successful (or employed for long!). Follow up with customers’ orders, call your office and check in with your in-house jobs. Even if you don’t speak to your boss, he will know you are on top of what matters by the activity you generate in-house. E-mail and frequent phone calls to the office administrator are the best way to communicate and leave a paper trail for what you need done or follow-up on.
The bosses let you work from home, and they can take it away too! Don’t give them this option; keep in touch when home, and come in to the main office at least one day each week. I try to be in the office at least two times a week. It’s good to see and to be seen because you’ll know firsthand what is going on with your projects and you can get the scoop on whatever else is pertinent at the time.
There Is Always Something – There is always something you should be working on. Embrace your work and your workday. I may make as many as ten calls in a day, or as few as two.
Do What Works for You – These are things that I try to do and they may or may not work for you. If you can work for eight hours straight, good for you! Or if you need a break now and then, that’s OK. Emphasize your strengths and you will succeed.
If It’s Got to Be, It’s Up to Me – Unless you have a magic wand, the work is not going to do itself. Stay on target, and you will have more time for family, friends, hobbies or whatever else.
|Meet the Author
Andrew Long sells aftermarket parts for Scott Lift Truck in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. He likes to sell capital equipment because it “reaps more market share” and is currently working on increasing those national accounts.