4 Tips to Making “Work at Home” Work

You’ve done it. You’ve been diligently getting your ducks in a row and you are now embracing your entrepreneurial spirit. You’ve traded in your commute for your very own home base. Or you’re not launching your own business, instead; you’ve found a position that allows you to work from home (even some of the time). For many of us, this is the stuff dreams are made of, right? Working from home offers a lot of perks ranging from increased flexibility to reduced costs (good bye gas and tolls!). On the other hand, working at home isn’t as simple as settling onto the couch with the laptop and your favorite mug full of coffee. To make this work, there are some things you should consider to make sure this arrangement works.

Dedicated Space

The upside to physically going into an office is the mental signal that you’ve moved into work mode. Setting up your laptop on the kitchen table or curling up in your favorite comfy chair isn’t going to flip that switch. Pick a dedicated space and claim it as your new office. Not only does setting yourself up in a spare room or space get you in the right frame of mind, it’s also a reminder to other members of your household that you’re all about business when you’re in that spot.

Work-Ready Design

Take a moment to figure out how you work best. Do you like to spread out? Do you prefer to tack things up on the wall so you can quickly scan papers and notes? Do you like everything in easy reach? This is your chance to create your optimal work experience. Fill your new office space with the things that complement your work style. You’ll need a desk, a comfortable chair, and storage solutions to start. Don’t forget lamps, plants and a few personal touches, too!

Set Your Hours

There are people who think working at home means you’re suddenly accessible all day long – both from a personal and a professional standpoint. Your daughter’s lacrosse coach may want to pop over with registration forms just after the kids get into school, which is also the time you have a weekly client call scheduled. A business associate may assume you’ll be reachable outside of traditional office hours because, well, you’re sort of always ‘in,’ right? Then there’s your own blurring of the lines. It can be easy to settle into work early and continue to burn the midnight oil when ‘work’ is in the next room 24/7. Before you get caught up in the cycle, set ‘office hours’ you can stick with. Let people know – both professional and personal – that these are work hours.

And Yet, Be Flexible

We all have those days where our mind seems stuck in neutral and we’re struggling to make progress. A change in scenery may be all you need to shake things up a little and get progress flowing again. On those days, go ahead and embrace the inherent flexibility of working from home. Take your laptop on a field trip to your favorite wifi-enabled coffee shop or café. Don’t be opposed to the occasional splurge of working from your patio on a beautiful, sunny day.