Korene's Blog

Mastering the Home Office

October 21st, 2011 10:46 AM by Korene L Clopine-Seaman

The number of home offices is definitely on the rise. As of 2010, the number of employees telecommuting most of the time totaled 2.8 million, or a little more than 2 percent of the total workforce, according to Telework Research. And partial telecommuting is increasing, as well. As of this year, roughly 34 million professionals work from their homes occasionally, Forrester Research reports. Moreover, Forrester expects the number of people working remotely will nearly double to approximately 63 million telecommuters by 2016.
The question is, are these home workers doing it right? Working from home is an entirely different challenge from working in an office. How does someone who's never had to work on their own master the home office setting?


  • Defend your space. There will be friends and family members who will equate working from home with you having more free time to visit or chat on the phone. Politely set clear boundaries from the start.
  • Respect your time. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of giving into distractions. You might decide to multi-task and try to run loads of laundry or start a roast, or even give in to multiple daily visits to your favorite website. Don't. Don't let bad habits start and you'll never have to struggle to break them.
  • Set a balance. Set a firewall between when you are working at home and when you are living at home. This is not only important because you don't want your work to take over your life, but because this can give your managers and coworkers an unrealistic expectation of what your workload should be — and that can cause you to very quickly resent your home office circumstance.
  • Maintain human contact. Many professionals are motivated by the general workplace "vibe" and can lose productivity and sometimes grow isolated in a home office setting. If interacting with other people, even to shoot the breeze, keeps you motivated, have a short list of coworkers who don't mind an impromptu, five-minute phone chat. Consider taking a break at a local coffee shop, or meeting with fellow home officers in your neighborhood. Keep these moments brief but regular to stay motivated.
  • Make your workspace fit you. Conventional home office wisdom says to create a workspace that is apart from the rest of the household to minimize distraction. This is true, but you might find that while a dedicated workspace is important, you do some of your best work at the kitchen table or roaming about. Your best bet is to set aside a dedicated space initially, but monitor your work habits and stay flexible.
  • Management through strong communication. With today's geographically dispersed workgroups, even managers are often working remotely. The key to effective management is to regularly and routinely communicate via meetings and one-on-one calls and to set and monitor metrics to employee performance. Leverage the work-at-home environment to foster solid independent work habits in your team, but communicate to ensure that each member has the resources he or she needs, and is on-task both tactically and strategically.
Posted in:General
Posted by Korene L Clopine-Seaman on October 21st, 2011 10:46 AM