For most of my career, I’ve been blessed to work from home. Infact, working in an office drove me crazy. I needed my home office to be a safe place to get my work done.
My personal experience working from home taught me self discipline, focus and also allowed me to train for triathlons.
Today’s marketplace is demanding more workers work from home. According to Global Workplace Analytics, regular work at home has grown 173% since 2005. Based on their data, 40% of most U.S. employers have offered flexible workplaces, but only 7% make it available for all their employees.
Understandably, some jobs can not be done from a computer at home. However, if your job requires you to work on a computer from a desk, then you probably can do it from home.
We learned this during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Many people shifted to working at home as an interim solution.
That’s great for some but terrifying for others. We will take a look at what it means to work at home, how to work from home, jobs that allow you to work from home and much more.
Working As a Remote Employee
The term remote employee and working from home are basically the same. There may be a small difference if you work for yourself at home or you are working for a company based out of your house. At the end of the day, you are working from home.
Companies today are requiring many of their employees to work from home. For some employees, this is a new way of life. Their days of a 2 hour commute have been downsized to 15 seconds. Just watch out for the legos on the ground during your commute to your home office.
The hardest part of working from home is being productive. And yes, your employer probably has a manual on how to manage remote workers productivity. We will discuss productivity later, but the first step is to acknowledge the change.
Change happens, we all can accept that. But the transition through that change is the key.
If you are setting up a home based business or your company has asked you to work from home, my advice is to embrace it. Infact, celebrate it. Just think how much gas and wear and tear on your car you will save.
How To Work From Home
One of my key ingredients in doing anything is to make a list. Think about the spaces that need to organize and then break those down into bite-size pieces. Let’s take a look at all the facets of working from home.
Where in the house will I work?
This is a great question. For some it is simple. The home office.
We have a home office. Well, it was first turned into a library with my husband’s books. There was a tension over that room and the space it was going to be used for.
Our first order of business was to have a sit down discussion. I had ideas for where to work in the house and so did he. I realized that my preference is to work in a secluded space such as a home office with doors since this is what I have done for so many years. But I was open to looking at other spaces to compromise.
We have a few spaces in our home that could work as a home office. Some of them would be temporary. One is the kitchen table. Another was the dining room table. And then there is the kitchen counter. My last resort is the bedroom. I think I would be tempted to sleep if my office was next to my bed.
Make sure the place you choose to work can accommodate the work. Think about what it looks like to take a work call without any distractions. And a place where your work equipment is safe. Meaning, if you work at the kitchen counter, make sure nobody spills their drink all over your computer.
And if needed, get creative. I have a friend that moved a few things around in her oversized master bedroom closet. She set up a fold-up table, a chair and corkboard on the wall. The space allows her the privacy she needs.
For myself, I turned my husband’s library into a make-shift library, home office. And it also has a pull out bed for guests. You could say it is a multi-use room.
I did my homework. I looked at tons of ideas online including Wayfair and Houzz. I am a Houzz junky. They have tons of ideas and great prices.
If you have more than one person in your home that needs to work from home like I do, please sit down and discuss where you both will work. And if you have kids, discuss what that looks like with kids in the house.
For example, this summer my teenage kids are mother-helpers in the neighborhood. There are a few work from home moms that love the idea helpful teenagers can come over and help watch their kids while they get a few hours focused on their work.
If space is an issue, think outside the box. Like I shared earlier, look at sites like Houzz to get ideas. Simply go to the search bar and type in the word “office”. Then take those ideas and make a list and a budget. Next, look around the house and see what items you already have to make a home office in a tight spot.
What equipment will I need to do my job?
Now that you have the space picked out and a few office set up ideas, let’s nail down the equipment you will need.
Obviously you will need a computer unless your work provides one. I prefer to have an additional monitor so I can multi-task and look at many things at one.
You will also need an internet connection and sometimes a wifi boost.
And if you are on conference calls, consider getting a good headset.
Prior to purchasing, check with your work to see if they have any allowances or discounts with local major retailers.
And don’t forget the little things like surge protector, sticky notes, filing box, and possibly a desk and chair.
Before you purchase everything, think about maintenance of your major purchases as well. If for some reason your computer were to break down or your extra monitor wasn’t working, I suggest purchasing all the necessities in one place.
Stores like Best Buy have great deals and a huge selection on computers, headsets and even low priced desks. Plus they have the Geek Squad that offers everything from set up, advice, support, and more. And Best Buy stores are everywhere so in the event you are traveling for work, you can stop by a local store for support.
How will I pay to set up my home office?
Getting a home office may cost you a little money however, there are tax advantages to working from home. If you have a home-based business, your work office is now part of your business and can be claimed on your taxes. Plus buying major purchases specific to your work may count. Check with the IRS for more details.
If you work for a company, check with your manager or HR Department and inquire if the company will reimburse any costs for home office equipment. Years ago I was given an annual allowance for my home office. It was actually cheaper for the company to do that rather than lease out a space in a building.
And if cash is tight, check on local sites like Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp to see if anyone has gently used equipment. Always heed caution when buying from people you do not know.
We bought used beautiful mahogany bookshelves from a law firm in the middle of a remodel in downtown Houston. Like I shared earlier, my husband has a library full of books.
I knew we needed solid bookshelves and found a firm in Houston doing a flash sale. He rented a U-haul, grabbed a friend and went and picked up 8 bookshelves. If purchased new, the bookshelves would have cost us $8,000. We paid $500.
How can I get my job done while working at home?
As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest components to working at home is productivity.
The secret to working at home is this: Get it all done then stop.
Get done what you need to get done for that day. Yes, make your list and prioritize. Then one by one check them off. Just as you would if you were in an office.
The bonus part of working from home is there won’t be any in person interruptions. There will be emails and calls, but that is where you can prioritize. Get that end of the month sale report done first thing, then check email.
It’s hard to start a new habit yet I truly believe you can be productive at home. Some of us claim we have adult ADHD but my advice is to use that to your advantage. Set up a schedule then stick to it.
Personally, I try and maximize my mornings. I am up by 6:30 a.m. and have the dog out for a walk by 7. I try to be at my home desk by 8:00 a.m. For the next two hours I tackle those items that require the most brain power. At 10:00 a.m. I take a quick restroom break and grab more coffee then back to work till Noon. I believe you can get most of your work done by Noon.
And what about the kids being home while you work? This was a major issue for us when the kids were little. You need to do the math and see if it is worth having the kids go to a sitter or keeping them home. Plus if they are a certain age, they will require your time.
When my girls were babies, I only worked while they slept. As they got older, we put them in childcare as I increased my hours. Other times, my husband watched them when he had flexibility in his job.
Make sure to discuss with your spouse what childcare looks like while you work. And don’t forget about the sweet neighbor girls looking to be a mother’s helper to earn extra cash.
The last and most important feature to working at home is to avoid social media, personal texts and other distractions. Use the 8:00 a.m. to Noon block of time to get your work done. Facebook can wait. Plus looking at social media will not make you any money, unless you are a blogger or work in the social media field.
And when you are done with work, be done. This is my personal flaw. I could work all day. But my family comes first. Hence, I set up work hours, stick to them, then turn it off when done.
What are some work from home jobs?
Nowadays employers are open to letting their employees work from home. Some are still hesitant yet if you can show you can be productive, they may allow it.
If you are thinking of starting a home based business, here are a few ideas.
If you are a freelance writer, Fiverr is a great site where you can offer your writing, translation, blogging and other creative skills. I’m always looking for writers on there.
If you have administrative skills, consider becoming a virtual assistant. Many people need help with email management, scheduling and other administrative duties and are outsourcing to virtual assistants. Kayla’s $10K VA Class will teach you what you need to know to earn $10k a month as a virtual assistant.
Other jobs that potentially can work from home are IT, Bookkeeping, SEO management, blogs, tutoring and more. And if you need to increase those skills, check out Shmoop for online classes and My Best Resume to get your resume up to date.
Hopefully we have offered a little insight on how to work from home. Remember, it can be a big change for some.
Change happens. But the transition into the change needs to be worked out. Make sure to create a space that works for you.
Best of luck to you and here’s to getting organized as you work from home!
Julie is the founder of Organizemama. Her passion for organizing comes from her Lean Six Sigma Project Management training. She also holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Management.
She believes in the saying “a place for everything and everything in its place.”
If Julie is not organizing something, she is enjoying the outdoors with her two girls and her husband.