The Home Office Experiment

A little over a week ago, I posted a question in the #u30pro Facebook group regarding what people’s ideal job would be. Would it be working from home or do you need the office setting? I’ve always had an ambition to work from the comforts of my home, but I have no issues with the office. The answers from the group were mixed, which is actually a good thing.

I'd say Tony Stark worked pretty well at home (thx Marvel).

For some, the office brings a chance for structure, collaboration, and face time with co-workers. The home side? You can (most times) work at your own pace and are very mobile.

Thanks to the snowstorm that hit a good portion of the U.S. on Feb. 2, I needed to work from home.  It was an opportunity to put things I have heard and read to the test. The day was productive beyond my expectations. If you find yourself working from home or end up running your own consultancy, here are some tips that I found helpful.

1. Have a plan- This is probably the most obvious because, as with any project/job, you need a plan. Maybe you have white board or a legal pad, but write down all the tasks you need to complete.

2. Stay Focused- Just as there are distractions in the office, the same can be said by working at home. It may be kids, the dogs, whatever.  The better you can focus on your work, the more productive you’ll be. Which leads to…

3. Location. Location. Location- You need to have a spot in your home where you can avoid the distractions.  If your house isn’t a good spot, hit the local library or coffee shop. But keep in mind those around you, too.  They may not want to listen to your business pitch while sipping their mocha.

4. Be prepared- If you don’t normally work from home, you may not bring anything with you from the office.  In all honesty, though, you just never know when something may pop up.  Make it a habit to carry a USB drive or forward any documents you think you should always have with you to a BlackBerry or iPhone.

5. Relax- You have created the environment, now enjoy it.  Even if you are working hard, relaxing is an integral part of making this work.  Grab a coffee, put on some good music, and be productive!

How do you stay productive when working from home? What would you add to this list? Drop a comment!

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About JasMollica

"It's never too late to have a life and it's never too late to change one." That's something I tell students, friends, and family all the time. After living and working in New York City, I took my own advice in 2004, switched my career from the television/radio industry and got into public relations. Now, I spend my days as a PR/social media marketing consultant and get inspired daily. It's been a good ride, so far. But the car has plenty of gas left. I hope you'll join along in this guy's journey!

Posted on February 3, 2011, in Hot Topic, Marketing, Personal Branding, Public Relations and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Excellent overview. I am a very infrequent “work from home”-er, and since the weather is most often the culprit, heading out to work nearby isn’t usually a viable option. Instead, I work at a desk in my living room where I keep a spare monitor and keyboard from an old PC (extending their useful life and minimizing the annoyances of using a laptop keyboard & screen all day), turn on my stereo and take advantage of being near my kitchen for a regular supply of relaxing hot tea.

  2. I always enjoy working at home, and I agree with all of these points! One thing I have a problem with is sitting in the room with the TV on. It becomes a huge distraction for me, and music does sometimes as well. I always try to keep the TV off if I am working with deadlines and music that doesn’t have lyrics because I tend to sing along. Thanks for the great post! 🙂

  3. Nice post Jason, these are some good quick tips that can make a huge difference in your productivity at home. For me the office provides a great place for structure and conversation amongst your team, whereas I feel I am more creative and productive at home since there is less distractions. It’s going to be different for everyone, but I like the 5 tips above as a good starting point to productivity.

    Kyle

  4. Cool post, Jason! Captured your experience in sharable tips for those willing to risk a day away – like! Working from home is awesome but a controlled office environment is a productive environment too. When we have ‘structured’ meetings of a few teams/people it’s highly effective and surprisingly productive at times. Not as surprisingly productive as working alone at home in a familiar, no surprises environment at your own pace is, though. I find prioritizing as the best benefit of working offsite because no one is there to immediately interrupt your progress. Maybe I can pitch more home days now, hmm…

    • Josh,

      Feel free to use this blog as a guide to get more work time at home! Tell ’em I sent said so! 🙂
      I have no qualms with my work environment, but would love to balance it with home time for work as well (eventually).

  5. Working primarily from home for years and then returning to daily life in an office, was a breathe of fresh air. I found that although I’m very good with self-discipline (sticking to deadlines, working during the normal/required hours) nothing compares to energy you get from being in an office with co-workers. Yes, a (home) office dog can be a distraction and going to the coffee shop never worked well for me – – I still find it full of posers (different subject to write about). No matter what, it’s a give-and-take no matter where you call work. Unless you’re a recluse writer, have a plan to make human contact during the work day and not just virtually or on the phone!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Check out The Home Office Experiment: by - I worked from home yest. and today, those are all great points! -- Topsy.com

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