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5 Tips for Working From Home

Updated on October 18, 2011
Caution: Work Zone Ahead!
Caution: Work Zone Ahead!

Are you currently working from home? Do you have the option of teleworking? Or perhaps you’ve been thinking about starting your own home-based business? I worked from home for just over two years and I came up with a list of five important tips that will help you make the transition to your home office and increase your productivity.

#1. Don’t Flaunt It

The first rule to working from home is to never flaunt the fact that you aren’t stuck in a stuffy cubicle all day like the rest of the world. Tell your family, tell your friends, but when talking to professional contacts nothing can be gained by rubbing the fact in their face. It sounds extreme, but I have always done well with a policy of not discussing how I work from home unless it is brought up. There’s no need to lie about working from home, and there’s not much to gain by bringing it up.

#2. Avoid Distractions

It can be hard working from home with a million things to distract you from doing the jobs that need to get done. Without an employer scrutinizing your web traffic, it can be easy to find yourself browsing the latest news articles or reading web pages such as this one. (If you’re reading this while you should be working from home, go ahead and finish up but I’ve got my eye on you!) Try your best to avoid distractions. Put down that model airplane you’ve been playing with, stop taking those mid-morning naps and get to work!

#3. Have a Clean Workspace

Another challenge that comes with working from home is keeping your workspace organized and clutter-free. There is nothing professional about rummaging through papers and making excuses such as, “Uh, I had that purchase order around here somewhere.” Stay organized and neat. Just because you don’t have the ‘cubicle patrol’ breathing down your neck doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take a little pride in your home office. Besides, clean and orderly work environments eliminate all the stress that comes with them. If you are the type that finds order in disorder, just make sure you really do remember where everything is in that pile of papers scattered across your desk.

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#4. Maintain a Professional Work Environment

This tip for working from home goes much further than just keeping a clean workspace. If you are trying to deal with clients and there are dogs barking or children crying, who’s going to take you seriously? Furthermore, if you have a naturally disgruntled person you are trying to work with, you just give them ammo if they call to complain. It’s easy to cover all of your bases when it comes to keeping track of hours you’ve worked with the client and projects you’ve completed, but if they complain about you working from home and the background noise, it’s hard to regain your footing. Bad situations happen and it’s always best to keep your butt covered by maintaining accurate records, but do yourself a favor and keep the background noise to a minimum.

5. Keep Your Appointments

One of the downfalls about working from home is that you can be pretty hard to track down at times. Before hopping out to do a bit of grocery shopping, check your calendar and make sure you won’t be missing any appointments. It’s best to keep these errands to your personal time, but if it’s an emergency just make sure you’re covered. Some people may think they can get away with just forwarding their calls to their cell phone but that goes back to maintaining a professional work environment. If it sounds like you’re in a shopping mall, your customers are going to know.

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    • profile image

      Del Sandeen 6 years ago

      Very informative! I especially agree with #3, but I guess if someone was messy at an office, they're probably just as messy at home. lol

    • Faceless39 profile image

      Faceless39 6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

      I wonder how many times each day Facebook gets people off track LOL. Rated up and marked awesome and interesting. Great hub, and fun to read. :)

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      I was advised many years ago to treat the home office no different than the cubicle. Dress for success and it will spill over into your writing and your phone voice. Except for the days when I am blending my domestic tasks during the day, I do the entire makeup and dress for success daily.

      Today was a blended day with bluejeans appropriate for the other activities.

      Good article - working from home needs some thought and presentation to even your friends and family is important. You have a home office - make it professional and retain that image throughout your entire lifestyle.

      Very helpful Hub! Thank you!

    • BradyBones profile image

      R. Brady Frost 6 years ago from Somewhere Between a Dream and Memory

      Thanks RTalloni! I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Really good tips for those who work from home. Each is very important!