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Having a home office and working from home can be a blessing and a curse. Here are 10 tips that’ll help you enjoy working in your own space.
1. Figure out tax repercussions
To write off home-office costs, you must use the area for work only and on a regular basis. You should be able to write off 100 percent of costs associated exclusively with your home office — everything from buying a work computer to office supplies.
2. Create a daily work schedule
If you work for one company, try to set well-defined work hours to avoid phone calls and emails without boundaries on your personal time. If you are a well organized self-starter with time management skills, you’ll be better off.
3. Keep your visibility high
People who work from home are often saddled with an unfair label that they can’t really manage others while working from home. To help ward that off, make an effort to show-up on a regular basis for meetings and other office gatherings.
4. Be an extrovert
Co-workers can also be envious of your freedom, so make the effort to get out of the house and get in an out-of-the-office lunch or coffee with them to avoid the hard feelings.
5. Network electronically
Look into judicious use of social media – particularly those outlets that can relate to your profession, such as LinkedIn. Comment on posts and contribute your own to display your expertise and get that connected feeling.
6. Get dressed (or not)
If you’re going to be more comfortable and can stay focused on work while in jeans and a T-shirt – that’s one of the benefits of working at home. if you are going to be meeting or videoconferencing with co-workers or clients, you should dress appropriately.
7. Be prepared to be your own IT department
If you’re an employee, try to butter up someone in the IT department, who you can reach out to in a pinch. If not, invest in some training – possibly an inexpensive class at a community college or know the quickest route to the Apple store in your neighborhood.
8. Become familiar with web-based applications
Know the cloud, love the cloud – it’s your friend.
9. Don’t forget about insurance
Most home-business owners have little or no coverage from their homeowner’s policy. What’s more, if you file a homeowner’s (or renter’s) claim for losses that stemmed from an undisclosed home-based business, your insurer may not cover it.
10. Set up your computer so you don’t waste time online
Try setting up two user accounts – one for work, which allows the apps and sites you need to get work done, and another for personal use. If you continue to have issues, try getting a laptop for personal use and put it somewhere inconvenient during the day.
In a society that has mostly valued hard work in the form of manual labor over the creativity and problem-solving of the mind, it’s rough being creative when your skillsets and talents don’t function on the typical work cycle of Monday through Friday from the crack of dawn until sunset. Thankfully, many tech industry employers are catching on to the need to allow their workers more freedom both inside and outside of the office. Companies like eBay, Facebook, Google, and even Apple – with their relaxed environments and remote work forces – are all setting an example of what it looks like to prepare for a future of absolute genius.
Problems are solved unconsciously
If you’re like most businesses, you probably have creative team members functioning in various roles who need to solve problems as part of their jobs. The dilemma is that solutions are not likely to come while they’re sitting at their desk looking busy. Solutions are found when the mind is not engaged in rational or deep thought. These solutions come at times when the conscious mind is free – in the car, in the shower, while taking a walk, or upon arising from a nap.
Getting the conscious mind out of the way
When the conscious mind is running the show, the prefrontal cortex is in charge. The prefrontal cortex provides the ability to focus and meet deadlines; however, it also kills creativity because when logical and rational thought are engaged, the brain brushes off creative solutions before the conscious mind picks up on them.
How freedom affects productivity
Remote workers have been proven to be happier and more productive than those who work the traditional 9-5 schedule. Statistics show that the average 9-5 office worker only gets about 3 hours of work done per day. That’s a huge difference!
Traditional schedules don’t work for all-around
If you want to see better results in your business, before you buy the next best system for success, try allowing your staff to work from home a couple days out of the week. You’ll probably be surprised to see your staff’s happiness and productivity rise at the same time.
Technology has made it possible for startups to hire the best talent from all across the world at sensible rates. Startups are recognizing the importance of creating and managing virtual teams and the big billion dollar companies are soon following suit. One survey reports that 73 percent of employees believe that the challenges that virtual teams pose are overshadowed by the benefits. Today, entrepreneurs are readily outsourcing duties that are not within the main scope of their business to virtual employees.
Here are three ways in which virtual workers make organizations more efficient.
Best talent available
If companies begin to feel that managing a virtual team is creating more work for them, they are bound to give up on the idea of remote working. The solution to this is to create a common framework so that managers as well as virtual employees can work together effectively once they have found each other. Virtual assistant companies do just that. They add an important layer of management to the freelance economy which benefits the companies that hire them and the talent that works for them.
Virtual employees are often better at operating social tools that help streamline teamwork and collaboration. This allows virtual workers to be effective at tasks that generate maximum value for their company.
Allotment of resources
By reducing the number of on-site employees, a lot of small and mid-size organizations are reconsidering the traditional office expenditures. However, virtual talent doesn’t come cheap. If companies want to hire the best, they should be open to shelling out larger paychecks.
If you still aren’t sure about outsourcing work, look at your motivations and see if they align with the benefits of outsourcing. Consider the amount of time, money, and management efforts outsourcing will save your company and only then go ahead with the decision.
Here are some strategies for helping your own team work effectively, wherever its members may be:
Use the best collaboration tools
It can be easy for people to begin to feel disconnected and thus disengaged, so make sure you utilize the best technology to enhance your remote workplace.
Foster team spirit
The office should be a social place where relationships are built. Although it can feel awkward at first, video conferencing can really help remote teams get to know each other. Also, try to partake in employee celebrations for major milestones, such as birthdays, work anniversaries, and big accomplishments.
Flex your work schedule
Remote workers should have the freedom to choose not just when they work, but how they spend their work hours.
Engage with your manager
Regular check-ins with managers are foundation to successful remote working relationships. The more a manager understands your day-to-day activities, the better. I find that documenting tasks and goals for both the near term (weekly and monthly) and the long term (quarterly and annually) is crucial to staying on track.
Working remotely requires strong communication, established goals, and clear expectations. If you can stick to these guidelines, you’ll end up a happier and more engaged employee.