What it takes to work from home, Part 1

If you have a regular job, you have a routine: you wake up, get dressed, and commute or drive to the office. You probably have a set of clothes that’s specifically for the office, if not a uniform. You get your ID and pin it to your shirt or hang the lanyard around your neck. You have a work bag. This routine helps to prepare you for the work day. You go to the office, clock in, do your work, then you clock out and go home.

You also have external triggers that put you in work mode. Once you arrive at the office, you are surrounded by other people who are also working. Your boss is nearby to check on what you’re doing. Your colleagues are at the next desk, cubicle or room, so you can easily collaborate and consult. Sometimes clients and consultants drop by. Your office usually has few distractions: no TV or loud music, for example. The walls might have large work calendars, project timetables, or task lists that remind you of what needs to be done. Your computer is full of work files, and is probably connected to an office server. You probably have an enterprise email system or document repository, like Lotus Notes, Microsoft Outlook, etc. There’s an HR department or officer who reminds you about holidays, benefits, required paperwork. There’s a tech department or person who checks on your computer, printer or photocopier, installs firewalls, and helps if you get locked out of your account.

When you work at home, you have none of that. You just have yourself. You have to put yourself in work mode, and you have to find ways to make your home conducive to work. Different people have different ways of doing this.

The last time I held a regular job was in 2006. I’ve been working from home since then.

I’ve written about working remotely, for Homegrown.ph. But in that article, I talked about other people’s work tools and processes. Recently a friend asked on Facebook asked how people can manage working from home, so I decided to write about what works for me.

Read Part 2 here.

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