If you’ve started looking for flexible job postings, one of the main reasons is likely that you want to work from home. This is a great choice for many people, since working from home can allow for a healthier work-life balance. However, if you’ve never been a position where you could telecommute before, then it may take some getting used to. There are some common mistakes that people make when working from home, and you’ll want to do your best to avoid them – or you may find that you lose the privilege.
“People often think that they can get away with a lot of things when they’re behind closed doors and computer screens.” Executive coach and author Debra Benton explains some of the pitfalls people get into while working from home. “But the reality is that professional communication is professional communication, regardless of whether or not technology is there to facilitate it.”
You don’t get dressed
While you may think that working from home means you can lounge around in your pajamas all day, Benton advised against it. She explained that when people put on a professional outfit and make sure that their appearance is tidy, they have a sense of confidence that’s apparent in their work.
You don’t pay attention to your props
Benton explained that many people who work from home will teleconference with their employer, and they won’t think about what they have around them. For example, if you were drinking your morning coffee out of a beer mug, that’s not something that you need your boss to see. The same is true if you have any inappropriate items around your desk, like handheld video games or other things that may be deemed a distraction.
You keep erratic hours
While one of the great things about working from home is that you often get to set your own hours, you should try to stick to your regular nine-to-five schedule. Working Mother magazine explained that keeping consistent hours will help you stay focused and be productive.
You multitask too much
When you work from home, you have more time to do things like run a load of laundry or put some dishes in the washer. However, you don’t want to be multitasking too much when you’re supposed to be working – you should be focusing on what you have to get done for your job. Set aside an hour each day in the afternoon to get some chores done around the house, and then spend the rest of the time focusing on your work.
You’re sending negative emails
“You can say ‘yes’ in every email you send,” Benton told Forbes magazine. “But when you have to say ‘no,’ pick up the phone. Any communication you need to have from home that is either critical or could be perceived as critical should be first addressed on the phone. It’s courteous and allows you to clarify any outstanding issues in real time. Consider this the golden rule of online communication.”
You’re feeling stressed all the time
If working from home is causing you more stress that being in the office was, then you’re doing something wrong. Talk to your employer about ways that you can be more productive and less anxious in your home, or consider switching up your schedule and spending a few extra days in the office each week to see if it makes things easier for you. Working from home should make your life easier, not more complicated.