How to Work from Home

Four Methods:Finding At-Home JobsGetting OrganizedThinking like a ProfessionalGetting Out of the House

Twenty years ago, there were only a handful of jobs that could be done from one’s home. Telemarketing companies chose to outsource their call centers to people’s homes. Others used their homes as warehouses and headquarters for their door-to-door businesses. The digital age has arrived and now more and more companies are realizing the utility of at-home employment. They save costs by using your home space and you get to work from the comfort of your own home. If this arrangement sounds appealing to you, find out how to secure an at-home job and then figure out how to make it work. It can be a great luxury to work from home, but if you don't have the necessary discipline, it can be very difficult. If you’ve decided that at-home work is the best fit for your life and family, here are some tips on how to find and succeed at an at-home job.

Method 1
Finding At-Home Jobs

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    Avoid scams. Oftentimes, when you see an ad that says “Earn thousands of dollars from your comfy couch,” “Want to work in your pajamas?,” or “Set your own hours working at-home,” you automatically assume it is a scam, right? If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Yet, with the growth of the digital and global marketplace, more and more companies are trying to hire at-home help. Learn how to distinguish between reputable job ads and scams.
    • Scams normally ask for a lot of personal information up front. Many people are desperate for jobs these days. The hope of future employment can make you vulnerable to scam artists. Don’t give up your personal information like your social security number, birthdate, or bank information until you have actually signed and thoroughly read a contract.
    • Many scams also ask you to invest money up front, pay for “certification” in their program, or complete a certain amount of work for free during a “training” period. Don’t fork over your money ahead of time without a signed guarantee of return payment. If it really is a scam, they’ll take your money or benefit from your time and then just abandon you.[1]
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    Identify reputable sources for at-home jobs. Many online news sources[2] and career-building websites[3] compile lists of reputable at-home job sources. These websites can be found through basic internet searches. Just be sure to avoid websites for services you’ve never heard of before.
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    Think outside of the box. Many businesses in your local area might be open to at-home positions and not know it. Jobs that require a lot of typing or editing can be great work for at-home workers. Think about becoming a medical or legal transcriptionist.
    • Similarly, positions that require help with schedules, like personal assistants, can be done online and over the phone. Pay for virtual assistants can range from $15 an hour to over $100 an hour.[4]
    • Do you speak more than one language? Many websites build content in multiple languages and look for people who can edit their multilingual content.
    • Do you have great people skills and know a lot about traveling? Consider being a travel agent from the comfort of your own home. Many booking companies hire at-home workers to answer phone calls and work with customers online.[5]
    • Think beyond traditional typing and communication. Some companies are hiring at-home workers to test recipes for cookbooks and cooking shows. Others want people to create online visual content such as short videos on exercising properly, car maintenance, or gardening. In short, think about what you accomplish at home on a regular basis, then consider what companies could benefit from these activities. [6]
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    Learn how to package yourself.[7] Think about the skills one needs to work at home. Just like with any job, when talking to a potential employer emphasize those skills outlined in the job ad. Then focus on what makes an efficient employee who works from home. Emphasize organization skills and what elements of your home lend themselves to occupational success. Do you have dedicated space to work from home? Do you have a phone and internet access?

Method 2
Getting Organized

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    Create a dedicated work environment. Choose an area in your home that has good natural light and is well ventilated. Working in the basement or a closet will really start to close in on you after a few hours at work and will not encourage you to ‘go to work’ each day.
    • Think about the furniture in the space too. A desk and chair are essential. Although you may not be in an office environment, you are still doing an income producing activity and therefore you should set yourself up as professionally as possible. Working at the dining room table is a viable option if you do not have a separate study or office area in your home, so long as you are preparing your work area daily and it’s not cluttered with household items.[8]
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    Make organization a top priority. Getting organized is the first step to a really productive day. The main steps are decluttering, strategically organizing forms and information, and maintaining that organization. First, get rid of anything you don't need while you're at work. Knick knacks and family photos are ok, but anything else should be put in another room. You need to create a clean space free of distractions. Second, determine what forms or information (e.g. business cards, standard forms, email lists, payroll logs, or data reports) you need to have readily available. Purchase folders and place each kind of information in the same place. This way you'll know where to find it in the future. Third, at the end of everyday, do some basic maintenance to your organization system. Make sure all forms are put away properly. This way when you arrive in the morning, you won't be confronted with a mess.[9]
    • Arrange your work area with all the "office" tools you need (e.g. printer, PC/laptop, stationery). A carafe of water, phone chargers, and a great filing system are other essential things you'll need.[10]
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    Plan out your day. Make to-do lists with the most important tasks at the top. As the day progresses, you’ll have fewer and perhaps easier tasks to complete. It will keep you motivated during the day.
    • In your day planner/diary, write down all the things that need to be done – everything from doing the laundry to making those important calls. Block out times for them as accurately as possible. Try a weekly/monthly planner to see your tasks at a glance. Alternatively, you can put a number next to each task in order of importance. For example, the top priorities of the day would get a number 1, the lowest priorities would get a number 5. This will assist you in ensuring you have great time management and are productive.[11]
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    Regiment your time. Decide what your office hours are and stick to them. Take into account your household chores, kids (if you have any), personal commitments, and plan your office hours accordingly. Your business/work-from-home job is your main priority, so make sure you set your office hours and commit to working within this time frame. It's best to keep your office hours as consistent as possible.[12]
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    Get into a routine. The sooner you get into your routine, the better and more productive you will become. Work at times when you have the most energy. Work everyday at those times.[13] You will be surprised at how your creativity and concentration increases after having set specific working hours and routines when you need it most, and in the evenings when it is time to wind down, your mind will be more relaxed.
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    Don’t check your social media. Social media in the workplace can be a big time-waster. Not only does it take time to post, chat, and tag, it also disrupts your work flow. You'll find yourself stopping and starting repeatedly.[14] If you have problems with this, there are various software programs that will block access to such sites. Look up programs like Freedom and Anti-Social.[15]

Method 3
Thinking like a Professional

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    Dress for success. Working from home has many benefits. You may be tempted to wear your pajamas everyday. Resist it. Check your emails with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, but when your work day begins you should be dressed appropriately. It's all the about how you feel. Think about how different you feel in the evenings when you are in your comfy PJ’s – relaxed and winding down. This is not the mindset you would want to project on the phone when speaking to clients or bosses. Keep it professional all round and your results will reflect your professionalism.
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    Conduct yourself professionally. You will be dealing with the professional world. You will report to bosses and communicate with fellow employees. Conduct yourself with professional decorum during these interactions. Avoid inappropriate jokes. Be polite. Be congenial.[16]
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    Leave the household chores alone. You wouldn't do house chores, while you were at work elsewhere. Don't do them while working at home either. This is something that will take practice, but avoid all the home distractions as best you can. If there are home chores that need to be attended to, prioritize them. Sure, if it's raining outside and all your windows are open, you may want to attend to that right away, but generally everything else can wait. Watching an episode of your favorite TV show or taking your suit to the dry cleaners is not going to put money in your account.

Method 4
Getting Out of the House

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    Leave your home for extended periods of time. Make a point of getting out of your house during non-work hours. Don’t spend your entire day — working and not working — at home. Eventually, you will get sick of simply being in your home. Get out periodically. Go to restaurants, movie theaters, shopping centers, sporting events, local concerts, and anything else that takes place outside your home.
    • Even consider working from a different location. Work at a family member's home. Work at a coffee shop with minimal distractions. Work at the park.[17]
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    Get moving. Join a gym. Exercise is important for your physical and mental health. Sitting at your work area for hours a day will eventually lead to fatigue, lack of motivation, and disinterest.[18]
    • Studies show that brief workouts in the middle of a work day actually raise productivity. Researchers argue that dopamine releases during workouts, which carry on for a period following a workout, giving your muscles a chance to recuperate. This dopamine puts you in a better mood overall.[19]
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    Give yourself a break during work. Yes, you are working from home, but you are entitled to a break.
    • Walk away from your computer a couple of times during your work day – stroll around the garden, take a walk around the block, whatever feels most relaxing to you. Some fresh air will do you a world of good and refresh your mind. If possible, avoid watching TV or getting sucked into a hobby as this is a very easy way to lose track of time.

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Categories: Working from Home