The Complete Beginner's Guide to Work-from-Home

Your five-year career break just ended. You’re armed with a job. You’re ready to give it your all.

"But it’s a work-from-home thing, that’s not good enough", your neighbor will say.

"That’s not a real career,” your distant aunt will say.

Don’t let others’ opinions of you and what you do get in the way of achieving what you set out to achieve.

Work-from-home is for REAL, and it is NOT meant for slackers! It is more than just work minus the traffic jams. It involves being in “alert/standby mode” ALL the time.

The workspace doesn’t mean just a physical space in an office anymore. The one-roof model belongs to the industrial era when the factory-model of working was born – multiple men and women using mostly physical labor to work towards one goal.

Today, most work is based on the output of the mind, not the hands, and with broadband, cloud computing and collaboration tools that allow us to work more efficiently, we can do so gladly, from anywhere we choose. Thanks to the promotion of a better work-life balance and increasingly connected technology, it is no longer unreasonable for employees to ask for, or expect, a degree of flexibility.

Here’s the lowdown on how you can make a work-from-home (WFH) job

work for YOU:

Communicate often – Out of sight can very often be out of mind. Keeping in constant touch with your team helps in getting work done quickly and more efficiently. It also helps you develop a good rapport with colleagues.

Be proactive – Engage in discussions, pitch in with your ideas, and don’t be afraid to speak up. Let them know your worth.

Stay committed – It may be tempting to slack off mid-day and go café-hopping with your girlfriends, or take a quick nap. Stay committed to your decision to WFH.

Build your network – An occasional visit to your office can help you build your network, and also set the momentum for you to work from home. It also gives you brownie points for showing up when you’re not required to.

Although much of it depends on the nature of your work, this is what you can do to improve your personal efficiency:

Get dressed – Might seem weird, but working from home must not change the way you VIEW your work. Don’t stay in your pajamas and socks all day. What you wear has an impact on how you feel. Dress up to get charged and stay focused.

Make a schedule and stick to it – Dirty laundry, the dishes, and the TV soap can wait a few hours. Allot time solely to your work.

Create a well-defined workspace – Yes, you’re working from home, and yes, you are an expert at multi-tasking. But it helps immensely to set apart a quiet place where you can concentrate. Don’t go from one room to another with your laptop.

Start early – Start before your mind wanders into “What to make for breakfast,” or “The maid is off today,” or “I need to go shopping.” Grab that hot cuppa and get down to work. Even if it is for an hour, it will give you a good head start.

Divide and rule - Split up your work. Write it down as separate tasks. Allot time (if that works for your type of job) for each. Strike them off as you finish. You’ll go to sleep a happy person.

Avoid spending time on social media - Working from home can take a bit of getting-used-to. Unless your job demands it, fight the urge to log in to Facebook or Instagram to see what your friends are up to. It’s easy to while away time on social media without even realizing it.

Do it now – Procrastination comes easy especially when you’re working from home. Remember, you’ll have twice the load to finish tomorrow. Don’t fall asleep at your coffee table. Organize your work so you don’t have to compromise on the quality of your work.

Be accountable – You used to study for your school exams with the TV on, and it worked! But don’t try that with your WFH job. Be responsible, and accountable for the work you’ve been assigned.

Remember, when it comes to a company’s work-from-home policy, everyone is different. Productivity and overall success as a remote employee depend entirely on your preferred work style.

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