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17 March, 2020 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Working From Home
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5 Rules For Working From Home

Posted March 17th, 2020 | Author: John G. Self

Working from Home – A few weeks ago that was a much sought after perk.  Today, with the rapidly spreading Covoid-19 virus, it is quickly becoming a necessity.

There is much to like about working from home, but like anything else there are pitfalls you must avoid, especially if this is your first experience.  


I thought, how hard can that be?  Harder than I thought until I incorporated some “home office rules.”

I have worked from a home office in my loft/suite for 18 out of the more than 25 years of owning my own business.  When I started, I struggled to stay concentrated and to be as focused as I was in traditional workplace.  Work from home, I thought, how hard can that be?  Harder than I thought until I incorporated some “home office rules.”

Here are the five lessons I learned:

  1. Dress for work. While I rarely went into my home office in bedtime attire, there were several times I found myself taking important calls in less than business casual dress.  The work you do is important.  Dress like it.  Wearing a coat and tie every day is not what I am talking about. That is a little over the top but how you dress affects how you perform, from the tone of your voice to your attention to detail.
  2. Establish a routine.  Plan your day the night before then work it religiously.  Stick with the routine.   The goal is to be more efficient and productive, not less.
  3. Establish House Rules.  Until I implemented some “home office” rules the distractions and interruptions cut into my effectiveness.  Part of that was my fault, but if people do not take your workspace seriously it is hard to stay on track.   For example, the office is the office, not a part-time den for TV watching, or a playroom for the kids.  Maintaining professional interactions with colleagues or customers is important. It is hard to be taken seriously if the dog is barking, the baby is crying or the kids are playing cowboys and Indians and your office represents the hideout.  Finally, limit the spousal honey-dos to lunch time, after hours or on weekends. Never lose sight that occurs in your home office is your livelihood.  
  4. Define Limits.  Unless you have pressing business, stay out of the office at night and on the weekends. Slipping back into the office to finish up a few things while the family is occupied elsewhere can become a bad habit much easier than you can imagine. Be sure to retain your work/life balance. Just because your office is convenient does not mean you have to be there all the time.  
  5. Stay Connected.  Working from home is great but you cannot afford to become isolated from your colleagues. Schedule regular meetings in office, coffee and lunch sessions to ensure you remain “connected.” Going out for lunch, a normal thing to do when you “work downtown,” should not become eat-at your-desk or lunch-at-the-kitchen-table everyday routine.  It is important to stay connected with life on the 

The New York Times feature a piece on working for home. This article focused on the technology of working from home. It is a useful read.

In addition to the technology issues, you should check your internet speed and consistency of your cell phone signal. To be effective, you will need a higher speed and a strong and consistent cell phone signal.

© 2020 John Gregory Self

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