March 23, 2012

a young pro’s guide to working from home

Modern careers are different from traditional ones in so many ways, but perhaps the biggest difference is the way modern professionals are not necessarily bound to one office or desk or set of working hours. A lot of what we do can be done from the privacy of our homes if we have a decent laptop and Internet access.

Do any of you have jobs that allow you to work flexible hours or from the location of your choice? If you do, here are a few tips to keep your relationship with your employer in tip-top shape regardless of how often you see each other face to face:

  • Know what is expected of you: Whether you work in or out of the office, not having a clear understanding of what you need to achieve and produce can cause a lot of ambiguity. Have a look at your job description or have a discussion with your supervisor to ensure you have are on the same page.
  • Do more: If your employer allows you the flexibility of working on your own time and at your own home, be sure to show them that you are productive and proactive. If they can see it pays off they are sure to put their trust in your time management and see you as a professional.
  • Get the gear: Be sure to have the equipment and connection you need to do your work without interruptions or technical problems. If you work from home it would usually be on the condition that you be available via phone or email during regular working hours.
  • Designate your work space: Working from home can be very distracting if you try to do it in the kitchen or in front of the TV. Have a spot designated for work where you can focus and concentrate on your work.
  • Create boundaries: (for yourself and those around you). Be sure to plan how much time you want to spend on work and try to stick to the plan. Also inform those close to you how much time you will need daily so they know not to interrupt you just because you're there. If it helps, close your personal email accounts when you need to get your head stuck into your work.
  • Regular updates: Keeping in touch and providing others with regular updates is a powerful tool that helps maintain your work relationships despite the distance between you all.

Working from home can be very rewarding! In many cases it helps you to focus on projects until they are finished instead of wasting time because you need to hang around the office until 5pm. If done correctly, you can easily juggle multiple projects or jobs and grow your career at a faster pace.

Any stories on how working from home hasn't really worked for you?

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