By: Kristi Spargo
For the past 832 weeks (approximately), I woke up (grudgingly), showered, dressed, drove to the office, and sat at a desk for eight to nine hours before going home. Depending upon the week, I have been content enough that what I was doing had some purpose and provided a steady paycheck. Then the summer of 2014 happened. Not only was I in the process of buying a home, but I randomly received a call from a former employer of mine asking if I might be interested in a position. The tricky part, they were in Florida and I was in Pennsylvania so I would need to work from home. Voila. My life just took a drastically different direction.
When I started telling people that I was going to be working from home, I might as well have told them I won the lottery. Typical reaction, “Oh how wonderful, now you’ll have more time.” Obviously, these commenters haven’t worked a full-time job from home. I work harder, longer and yes, more happily than I ever have before. I don’t have any regrets but I do have a few suggestions for those considering the gig.
A Consummate Professional
Let’s be frank. The highlight of my week is no longer casual Friday because wearing jeans is officially dressing up. I rarely wear anything with zippers and buttons and I’m sort of embarrassed to admit the last time I put effort into make-up. Even though I may not dress the part on a daily basis, my mannerisms, work ethic and communications are always professional. Respond to emails and calls within twenty-four hours, always re-read slowly before you hit send, and please, please use spell check.
Maintain Contact with the Outside World
I began working from home in November in Pennsylvania. Between my introvert tendencies and the impending cold weather, it was only a matter of weeks before I became house-bound. Working all day alone may be quiet, but it’s also its own sort of overwhelming. In order to remain a healthy, well-rounded individual you have to get out and actually talk, continue to build relationships and network. Besides, it will give you a reason to make sure you still fit in your jeans.
Keep the Faith
I had one friend ask me if I had to try hard to make sure it looked like I was working. I answered without hesitation; I don’t have to try because I’m actually working hard. This is a job like any other job and it is what you make it to be. Warning: there will be haters that assume you watch TV all day and maybe even a husband who thinks you are now able to be the gourmet cook of his dreams. Newsflash: I still sit at my computer for eight to nine hours and I still can’t cook. The only difference is I don’t deal with traffic and I can sing really loud when Total Eclipse of the Heart comes on.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Set a work schedule and stick with it. Working from home does provide some flexibility, but if you want to stay on your A-game I recommend having a desk, a comfy office chair and the mindset that you check in and check out at the end of the day. Having a pre-determined schedule helps you stay on task when you need to and also ensures that the job doesn’t stay with you.