Telecommuting Effectively – How to be Productive in a Home Office

Telecommuting Effectively – How to be Productive in a Home Office
3G.Blog.Telecommuting.02.08.2013

It’s important to stay focused when working in a home office.

Although telecommuting is becoming a more widespread and accepted practice in the world of business, there are still a lot of misconceptions out there. The truth is, home-based business is thriving in our country, and there’s no reason you can’t produce professional work from a home office. It does, however, take a certain amount of focus and discipline.

Statistics About the Home Office

According to Telework Research Network, “Regular telecommuting grew by 73% between 2005 and 2011 compared to only 4.3% growth of the overall workforce (not including the self-employed)…while many conjectured that telecommuting would decline during the recession, it actually grew by 11.4% from 2008 to 2011.”

Business Opportunity shared some interesting statistics about home-based business, too. As of 2011, “there were an estimated 18.3 million home-based businesses in the United States and the number of households in the United States that had a home-based business exceeded 12 percent…since 1992, the number of women that owned a home-based business rose from 10 million to more than 17 million home based businesses.”

Want a few more recent stats? Business For Home’s infographic details that a new home-based business is started every 12 seconds and there are 38 million home-based businesses in the USA. So if you work from a home office, you can rest assured you’re not alone.

Staying Productive at Home

Telecommuting can bring a unique set of distractions to the table. As Three Girls is a virtual firm, I have a lot of personal experience in working from home, and I can tell you it takes focus and discipline. A big part of this is mindset. Even if you’re your own boss, you need to approach your work day as just that: a day at work. Save the dishes in the sink until after-hours and don’t make plans during the day unless they are related to your company or you know exactly where you’ll make up the hours. Of course, as with any job, taking breaks is necessary (and will make you more productive), but you need to make sure you’re taking breaks from your job and not from house work.

Here are three of my suggestions for staying productive when working in a home office:

  1. Create an actual area for you to work in. Whether it’s an office or a simply the corner of your living room, a designated area will help you get in the right mindset. If your family distracts you when you’re trying to work, make sure they understand you’re at work and close the door (if you have one) to eliminate noise.
  2. Create a work schedule and stick to it. Decide when you’re going to start and make sure you’re ready to go by that time. Schedule in a lunch break and set a reminder on your phone or calendar so you actually remember to get up from your desk and eat. If you have a few chores around the house that can’t wait, this is a good time to get them done, but remember your break is a break, so make sure you give yourself time to eat and relax.
  3. Have a running to-do list. Personally, I like to use TeuxDeux to keep track of my to-do list since it lets me drag tasks around and move them to different days of the week. But there are a lot of websites and apps out there to help you with productivity. Use them.

Do you work from a home office? What other suggestions do you have for telecommuting effectively?

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Photo Credit: L Gnome

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