Fervently jotting down the dictated list of prioritized task and deadlines on a yellow legal pad, I proceeded to summarize the hour long skype session with one of my most valued clients.
Just another relaxing afternoon in the day of sweat pant exec, or so I thought.
Midway through my “week 3 strategy” rotation, my 100+ lb. German Shepherd barreled through my half closed “office” doors and charged the mesmerizing laptop screen with the unbridled aggression of his carnivorous predecessors.
There went the web cam…
There went the café latte…
There went the meeting…
For many of today’s entrepreneurs, the convenience of working from home – thanks to the wondrous creation of WiFi – greatly outweigh the disadvantages of merged spaces. Unless, of course, your home invades your office, as in my case with my German Shepherd. Working from home can be the best work environment you’ve ever encountered or the worst.
Here are a few tips to make your home office more productive:
Optimize Your Home Office Environment
While it may be tempting to “let your hair down” when working at home–rolling out of bed in your PJ’s, and stumbling down the hall to lounge with your laptop in front of a 78” flat screen—optimal productivity will not occur without some semblance of structure in your work from home arrangement.
Invest in a functional work station, placed in a room with closable doors, and away from the many distractions that can be found on our home turf. Regardless of whether you’re natural state is that of a neat freak or self-admitted “slob”, make it a priority to keep your sacred work space organized and presentable, even if you are the only person “seeing” it.
Always Dress for Success (aka Wear Pants!)
Alright, I’ll admit it; on more than one occasion, I’ve run a virtual meeting in my running shorts, riding breeches, and yes, even pajama pants below a semi-ironed dress shirt. And thanks to the “head and shoulders only” view of well-placed webcams, no one was the wiser.
While such relaxed wardrobes make for an often more “convenient” personal time to work time transition, the informal dress code can translate into similar performance. Just because you can wear next to nothing when working from home, doesn’t mean you should.
“Dressing for success” doesn’t only apply to corporate settings; its applications extend to entrepreneurs commanding their enterprise from a home office. While, I’m not suggesting three -piece suits for home office wear, a professional, structured outfit (with bottoms, and shoes!) can help one stay on task, and will encourage higher levels of productivity. If you take yourself seriously, others will too.
Stick to a Work Schedule
In regards to convenience, few things can compete with the accommodating offerings of a home office.
No commute time.
No annoying coworkers.
No office drama.
It (should) be heaven on earth. However, with all the convenience of location, come several drawbacks to having your office at home, with the main one being the “convenience” of work. Having your bed and work space under the same roof can make it difficult to “turn it all off” at the end of the workday; you may feel as if you are always “bringing your work home”, unable to “check out” and attend to personal matters.
To help prevent your home office from creating a siren like sensational over your life, stick to a regular work schedule (ex: 9-to-5, Monday Friday), regardless of how much “work” you have left over at the end of the day. By sticking to the schedule, you can “train” your brain to “check out” in a healthy manner, every day.
Your home office should be your haven, not your handicap.
Integrate these three tips for setting up your in-residence work station for success.
Working from home offers many advantages if managed correctly.
Don’t trade the drudging commute for an unhealthy work environment that “takes over” your life. Set boundaries, stay organized, and prioritize professionalism.