Many will agree that working from home is the ideal situation for most. It has been said that those who work from home will often put in more productive hours every day. So, it comes as no surprise that more and more businesses are allowing and encouraging their employees to telecommute. Most business can be conducted over the phone or email; there is little use for face to face interaction and little need to work in an office. However, in order for this new business tactic to work there are several things we as telecommuters, need to remember about maintaining productivity from home. Professionalism needs to be maintained through your appearance, your business demeanor, your
Dress for the Occasion
It is important to get in the “working mindset” every morning before work. After a blazing cup of coffee or three, you’ll be anxiously bouncing around the house ready to jump into your office. First, you will need to make a pit stop by your closet, pull out the slacks and a nice dress shirt, or a comfortable dress with a cardigan before you are truly ready to sit down. And gentlemen don’t forget, working from home does not mean you can toss the suit, keeping that suit with the perfect fit will help you exude professionalism at your next onsite meeting. There are too many distractions in your house to remind you that you are not in the office; your boss isn’t pacing around to ensure productivity, your cat is tangling itself around your calves, and the kitchen is just a few short paces away; filled with snacks and goodies. An effective way to kick your brain into gear is to dress as if you were going to the office. Getting dressed for work is a regular habit and habits allow us to stay focused and organized.
Organization is essential not only in keeping your office clean, but it will also keep your mind fresh and open. A significant cause of stress is uncleanliness and chaotic work environments. Stress is a factor that you can eliminate from your life simply by keeping your office space clean. Office desks are hardly ever clean; between all the coffee spills, food crumbs, and paperwork they are often overflowing with chaos. Paperwork is a huge litter bug in every office despite the fact that much of our business is digitalized. Paperwork often consists of very important official documents, contracts, or agreements that we don’t want to lose track of. It is important to sort out the old from the new; it is time to store that (important) junk away! Storage unit facilities are a great place to start; many offer convenient access during the day. With top of the line security systems, these facilities offer a much safer haven for your important documents than your mice infested garage.
Separation of Comfort and Work Space
Designating a well-lit, efficient work space in your home is just one piece to making your home an efficient office. You need to also create a space to just chill out, and unwind from your busy work day. Personally, I love to relax outside mostly because my office is a stuffy air conditioned dark cave, so I have set myself up with an outdoor relaxation zone. Natural relaxation is important especially for those working long hours in a business setting. Many professionals drink a lot of coffee or caffeine and do not drink enough water. This severe dehydration will exhaust your body and by the end of the day you will be completely out of steam. At this point it is important to sit back, have a nice cold glass of water and try to recover before it all resets tomorrow.
Don’t Just Look Professional, Act Like it!
I am a very strong believer in the “fake it ‘till you make it” approach to learning a new business. However, there are some things you simply can’t fake. And if you plan to start your own business from home you need to invest in some important equipment. Technology and efficient communication play significant roles in every company today. If you are unable to communicate effectively and frequently your business will suffer. Just because you are working from home does not mean you should be using your hamburger phone to conduct business; you need an upgrade. Investing in conference phones with excellent voice quality will ensure that you are not left out of the loop. Another key piece of technology to invest in is a high quality printer, with special features depending on your business needs. For those few times you do need to print something, it is often because the document is important. You don’t want your important documents to come out of your printer mangled in any way. Using bright, heavier weight paper with crisp edges will only contribute to your professional appearance.
By keeping your office organized, your suit pressed, and your technology fresh there is nothing you can’t accomplish as a business professional. In order to come off as confident you need to take care of the things you interact with every day; your office, your mind, and your body.