Working from home, also known as teleworking, is becoming more common all the time. If you’re interested in teleworking from home to cut down on your commute or other expenses, it helps to know what you can expect. The flexibility of working from home comes with its own particular set of challenges and etiquette. Working from home in Houston will place unique demands on your ability to focus, meeting new people and general social skills. Follow these tips for making the most of working from home in Houston while staying organized, dealing with distractions and avoiding isolation. Working from home can be a rewarding experience provided you are prepared.
Know your working conditions
Before you begin working from home, you should understand your actual working conditions. For example, you may need to find a quiet room in your house. Or you may prefer to work in a cafe to escape the noise of children or barking dogs. You may want a desk away from windows where you can close the blinds and work in dim lighting. If you have a special set-up you want to use for your work, find out what kind of space will be provided if you’re working from home.
Establish a workspace
Your workspace should be well-organized and ergonomically correct so you can work efficiently. Keep your workstation free from clutter, and you’ll reduce your risk for repetitive stress injuries. Your workspace should be a place where you feel comfortable and that can serve as a refuge from the sounds of your household. Some people use headphones with soothing music or white noise while they work. Remember that the people you live with may not appreciate your choice in music. Try to organize your work to minimize distractions and make your work more efficient. You should be able to see everything in your work area so you can find it easily when you need it. Put things back in their proper place as soon as you are done working with them. You will be more efficient and focused if you work in an organized and distraction-free work environment.
Don’t forget about ergonomics and nutrition
Poor posture and improper use of ergonomics can lead to injuries, in addition to slowed mental processing speed and low productivity. It’s common for people who work from home to develop posture problems from sitting at a desk all day. If you’re used to working in an office with an ergonomic setup, you may need to make adjustments in your home office to prevent future pain and injury. Similarly, you need to stay on top of your nutrition even more than you would in an office. Find a healthy eating schedule that works for you, and make sure you take time out of each day to eat properly. Working from home puts you at higher risk for nutritional deficiencies from not eating enough.
Stay organised and communicate effectively
If you work from home, it’s important to stay organised, especially when you’re in an environment that doesn’t have a lot of external structure. You’re likely to have fewer people pulling you in various directions and less social interaction than you would in a traditional office setting. As you might imagine, this can lead to a lack of structure that can hinder your productivity. To combat this, make sure you have a calendar and schedule that is accessible to your entire household. If you don’t already have an electronic calendar, it’s time to make the switch. Calendars like Google Calendar make it easy to share your schedule with friends and family. Remember that your coworkers are not the only people with whom you need to share your calendar. Include information about your schedule for family members who live with you. It’s important to share your schedule with everyone in your household if you’re working from home.
Set times for meetings and conference calls
If you have a lot of phone communication as part of your work, make sure you set aside times for those calls. This will help you to avoid missing important calls because you’re not expecting them. If you have a house full of people, a loud phone can be a nuisance. If you’re in an apartment, a loud phone can be disruptive. Put a headset on so that the people in your household don’t have to listen to the loud phone. Make sure you keep your phone use to specific times. If possible, don’t take calls during family time or other important events. If you conduct conference calls or online meetings, make sure you schedule them during times when they won’t disrupt the rest of your household. If you have young children who are in bed during the evening, don’t schedule calls for that time. If you live in an apartment building, avoid holding loud meetings during normal sleeping hours. Schedule your calls and meetings for the time when they will have the least impact.
Meet people in person
Working from home can result in feelings of isolation, especially when you’re in the early stages of a new job. Make an effort to meet people who are either co-workers or people you can see as potential contacts for the future. Take advantage of opportunities to meet with people face-to-face by going to networking events or joining a professional organization. There may be an organization that meets in your area. If not, perhaps you can find a virtual organization that you can join online.
Working from home can be a great experience. Just remember that you are more likely to experience feelings of isolation. Make an effort to meet people who can become part of your network. Working from home is like having a second job. You have to be ready to put in the hours. Still, it can be a very rewarding experience.