Some Do’s and Don’ts for working from home

Remote working in a fieldI live on the North West coast of Donegal and work in Derry, a daily round trip of 80 miles and two and a half hours. 

I consider myself very lucky to be able to work from home one day a week for lots of reasons.  The arrangement works well for me and my employer, Learning Pool, and I’ve worked this way for over four years now. 

So it was with some amusement and, I confess, a little smug satisfaction, that I read this BBC article about working from home today.  Quite clearly working from home is not for everyone and the suspicion about company motives permeates many of the comments.

Learning Pool seems to be a positively enlightened employer against this backdrop.  We have about 30 people based in the office in Derry and another 20 or so based at home throughout the UK.  We even have one team member who works from home in Malaga. 

So how do we seem to be able to make it work?  I compiled a little list of some Do’s and Don’ts that may give an insight.

Do …

  1. use technology like Skype (with video), Yammer, Twitter, Go to Meeting etc to stay in touch with colleagues
  2. check out what colleagues are chatting about – we use Yammer as our virtual watercooler
  3. be focused – write your To Do list first thing and stick to it
  4. create a good working environment for yourself
  5. know your technology so you can be more self reliant
  6. be organised with your day – get your shower at your normal time, not lunch time
  7. remember to take a break – it’s often too tempting to keep going when you’re on a roll
  8. make sure family and friends know and respect the fact that you are working, even though you’re at home
  9. save tasks that require your full concentration for when you’re working from home -you will rattle through them much quicker without the office based distractions

Don’t …

  1. waste time constantly catching up with those back at the ranch
  2. turn it up to 11.  Keep distractions and entertainment as you would have in the office, ie no TV, quiet music etc
  3. try to put a wash on/put a casserole together/clean the loo while you’re taking a break to make a cup of tea
  4. take the p** with appointments etc, trust is essential
  5. forget that, for some, out of sight can mean out of mind
  6. waste time with an unreliable broadband supplier – this is an essential
  7. be tempted to work right up to bed time – be able to switch off and leave work behind
  8. be unavailable – your boss and colleagues should always be able to call you
  9. forget to get dressed

What have I missed from my do’s and don’ts lists?  Share your own tips, please!

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About Janet Harkin

A freelance marketing consultant currently working on some interesting projects. From Cumbria but live in Donegal, NW Ireland - both equally beautiful parts of the world. I love being busy, my boys, fresh air and Led Zeppelin. I also like marketing - the strategic challenges as well as the of-the-moment campaigns.
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2 Responses to Some Do’s and Don’ts for working from home

  1. Hi Janet,

    Another great blog as usual! I agree with all your points, especially about the distractions. It’s difficult to ignore the dishwasher that needs emptied etc. when you’re taking your lunch break! It definitely helps if you have a dedicated work area/room and you’re not just at a corner of the kitchen table.

    It’s slightly different, but my whole business is run from my home and I have a few tips for that:
    – Get a landline phone – it’s more professional looking on your literature than a mobile number and it makes your business appear more ‘secure’ to customers.
    – If you don’t have a showroom/client meeting area, don’t be afraid to refuse people that want to call to meet you. Instead, your website is your shop so make sure it’s good and up to date. Offer to send samples of your work by post or meet customers at their location.
    – Give your house a name if you are worried that the address appears ‘too residential’.
    – Finally, don’t shout it from the rooftops but also don’t be ashamed to say that you work from home. As long as you are providing a professional service, people will appreciate that you’re keeping your overheads down.

  2. Janet Harkin says:

    Hi Leanne

    I like your tips for creating a professional front to businesses run from home, thanks for sharing!

    Janet

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