For employers, particularly those in remote locations away from the specialized talent pool they require, or those who wish to operate with minimal "physical office" overhead expenditures, a virtual office staffed with telecommuters can make a lot of sense. Home-based businesses that expand to require additional staffing, but that aren't quite ready (or are unwilling) to ramp up to the burdens and expense of a "real office" can leverage telecommuters to their advantage quite effectively.
On a personal note, I've had a home office for about as long as I can remember, and I work quite effectively from it. I have a comfortable, quiet and private setup, and don't really get tired of being here. This makes me more productive and far more available than if I was simply a "9-5" guy. But that's me.
For many folks, working from home is not what they may have expected, and presents occasionally insurmountable hurdles...
I mention all of this today because we have a discussion thread on the subject on our "Speak Your Mind!" community message board, and in it, Mizteez_Admin offered a number of tips that I thought everyone who telecommutes – or is thinking of telecommuting – should know. According to Mizteez_Admin:
"I frequently (although not always) telecommute. I find it a great way to get things done. Here are my tips for working from home:
• Have a separate area for work and play - it is work after all.
• "Clock on" and "clock off" at reasonable times - just because you can work any old hours, doesn't mean that you should.
• Take time to call some people - e-mail is great, but it lacks emotion and human interaction... do yourself a favor and talk to your customers on a regular basis.
• Be in "work mode" when you work - It's a common myth that you work for yourself... your CUSTOMER is your boss, and they are often quite unforgiving.
• Be healthy - Take regular breaks, watch your posture, what you eat and remember to exercise regularly... even a walk around the block at lunch-time can make all the difference to your productivity in the afternoon.
• Consider getting a notebook PC for working "out of the office." This lets you work in a local coffee shop, or a rented "hot desk" to break up the monotony.
• Set the boundaries with your friends and family - make sure that they understand that you're working so that they don't just "drop by" on a regular basis.
• Plan your week carefully, and USE your calendar - make appointments with yourself to get things done - this includes taking regular breaks.
• Remember to network with others - online and offline, we all need human contact - no-one can exist in a vacuum.
• Read XBiz every day!
There are heaps more ways to manage it all, but in the end it's a very rewarding way to work. Once you get good at balancing your priorities at home, you can afford to be flexible with your time. You might start late and work a little later if that suits you, or start when you would normally have left for work and finish a little earlier. Of course, you could also get extra work done.
As for your concerns about "distractions", if you follow the guidelines above and are careful to discipline yourself accordingly, it will be the best choice you ever made. If not, it could be the worst..."
Editor's Note: Telecommuting can be highly rewarding for both employer and employee, but it's not for everyone. If you have any questions you'd like to ask on the subject, or thoughts that you'd like to share, please click the link below, and join in the discussion!