Edited April 9, 2014
“No enemy is worse than bad advice.” – Sophocles
Learning how to successfully telecommute takes a bit of little trial and error. Strategies that work for one person may not necessarily work for you; however, there are a few pieces of telecommuting advice that aren’t good for anyone. Here are the top offenders:
Work in your pajamas. Most people want to work from home because they think they can work in their pajamas all day. This isn’t the best idea. While you should wear comfortable clothing, we recommend getting dressed for work every day. You don’t have to wear high-end business attire, but making a conscious effort to wear clothes that you could freely wear in public will keep you feeling fresh and prepared to take on the day.
Spend loads of time on social media to network. You may have been given advice that social media is the hottest way to research clients and find new gigs. This is true, in moderation. Be mindful about how much time you spend on social media, when you do log in during the day, keeping your activities to business purposes.
If you work from home, you have to stay at home. Just because your office is located inside your house does not mean you have to be chained to your desk all day. To help from going stir crazy, it’s a good idea to get outside and breathe in some fresh air. Getting out of the house to change up your scenery will ward off cabin fever. Schedule morning and afternoon breaks and honor them as you would a meeting with your most important client.
You can work on the couch or from bed. The only time this should be allowed is if you’re not feeling well and still need to meet your deadlines. When you are feeling well, we recommend not working on the couch or in bed to help separate work life from home life. Creating a unique space for work and only working in that location will help keep the work-life balance in check.
You will have time to keep up on housework. Dishes and laundry will always need to be done whether you work in or out of the house. So, unless you are a professional housekeeper, you are not being paid to keep your house clean during office hours. This doesn’t mean you can’t throw a load of towels into the washing machine when pouring your morning cup of coffee – just don’t spend the entire day sorting, ironing and folding.
You will be happier working from home. Telecommuting isn’t right for everyone. If you need social interaction, struggle with time management or get distracted easily, you may not be well suited for working remotely. And when we’re in a job that’s not a good fit, it inevitability leads to unhappiness.
You can work whenever you want. Unless you’re independently wealthy, you still have a boss or client who is expecting results when it best suits them, not you. There will be times you will have to rearrange your schedule to attend after-hours meetings or to deliver a project before its deadline.
We want to hear from you! What bad telecommuting advice have you been given? Join the discussion by leaving a comment below and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.
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