People think I’m so lucky to be a work-from-home writer and human resources consultant. Well, those people are right. Working from home is awesome. The rumors are true: I wear yoga pants and eat ice cream in the middle of the day.
But working from home isn’t for everybody.
Here are my tips on how to stay productive when the couch and television are calling your name.
1. Install a Landline
I know, I know. It’s insane advice — except your mobile phone sounds like crap inside your home. When you put me on speaker while you’re multitasking, it’s even more horrendous. If you want to sound like a professional businessperson, whatever that means, you need to up your game. Your old-school Jitterbug phone isn’t doing you any favors.
2. Pay for More Bandwidth
My hometown of Raleigh, NC, is about to get Google Fiber. I’m over the moon because my local cable company rakes me over the coals with my monthly bill. I pay for 100 channels that I don’t watch, along with broadband that never seems fast enough. That being said, I recommend you pay for the fastest Internet speed possible. When you’re Skyping with a client and the video is buffering, you’ll regret being such an amateurish cheapskate.
3. Keep it Clean and Tight
Some scientists believe that a cluttered desk can inspire creative thinking. When I worked in corporate America, my office was always neat and tidy. When the janitorial crew rolled through the building at 5:30 p.m., my garbage cans were emptied and my shelves dusted. Now that I work from home, I try to keep my work area clean and tight. I have cats, so there are cat beds and toys everywhere. But there’s no food at my desk, and I try to empty my garbage can every night. I think there’s a fine line between healthy clutter and hoarder. Be on the right side of that line.
4. Don’t Do Chores During Work Hours
Cleaning the house during working hours is a quick and efficient way to lose money and waste billable hours.
For the first few years of my new career, my husband made the assumption that “working from home” meant I had the time to do more housework. That might just be marriage, which is another blog post, but I had to put my foot down and set some limits. I said things like, “Hey, Bub. While my desk is close to the kitchen, I don’t work in the kitchen. While I’m near the washing machine, every moment spent folding underwear is a moment I’m not closing a deal or writing a book.” Since we had that conversation, my work-life balance is a little easier.
So, in summary: follow my lead and install a simple phone in your home, pay for the best possible internet package possible, don’t litter your desk with Diet Coke cans, and find a way to stay focused on work instead of that incredible pile of laundry in your bedroom.
But absolutely make time for ice cream. That’s a midday break that I fully endorse!
Throughout the month of July, our resident talent advisors have been discussing issues around work-life balance. Subscribe to Talent Advisor to stay on top of the latest blog posts and discussions around unlimited PTO, modeling good work-life behaviors as an employer, working from home, gender differences and PTO, maternity and paternity leave, and much more.