7 Big dos and don’ts of working from home

As every self -employed entrepreneur or freelance contractor knows, working from home means that very little sits between them and day time television and therefore bankruptcy. If you work from home as part of your employment contract, it is even more important to make sure you are disciplined. 

But when you are working from home it can be a challenge to manage your time and workspace as professional, and not to blur the  boundaries with your private life. This is even more important if you are a corporate employee working remotely.


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Working from home

What are the 7 dos and dont’s – of working from home?

The 7 Big dos

1Establish dedicated office space 

Using a room specifically for the purpose of working from home is the best solution, although not always possible. Wherever it can be arranged it should not be in the same room as a bed or your kitchen. This becomes more important for video-conferencing, more than personal visits.

2. Invest in high quality hardware and equipment

This goes without saying, but a laptop and smart phone are vital. Many freelancers have a spare computer just in case. But add a printer- scanner to your shopping list and any other professional level add ons, such as a blue- tooth headset, external disk drive and white board for brain storming. Anything else will depend on your area of activity, but could involve high level presentation equipment such, as beemer and microphone

3. Have business-grade technology

Invest in business standard support and warranty services.Tweet this One of the most common complaints from the self-employed is the lack of IT support when they become CEOS of themselves. This is especially true of IT security software and password protection. Extend this to anything that might impact your ability to generate revenue – car breakdown warranties and so on.

4. Invest in branding

Whether its a good quality web site or business cards, make sure your new brand is consistently of high quality at all levels. Ensure you have all the apps you need to keep on top of your to-do list and keep up to date with social media and other technology.

5. Take breaks and work office hours

Make sure to take breaks throughout the day for lunch and exerciseTweet this. Many are surprised that over-working can be just as damaging as mooching on the sofa.

6. Manage your family

Make your office off- limits to your family, whether toddlers or teenagers. Both can wreak havoc on your systems from down loading virus infected pop videos or deleting material with sticky inquisitive fingers. If you work regular business hours, it will be clearer for them too.

7. Be prepared

Make sure you have an alternative location to your home in the event of a problem.Tweet this Companies dig up roads, neighbours drill their walls. Have the address of a co-working location, an internet café or even the password to your neighbours internet connection in the event of an emergency.

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The  7 Big Don’ts


1. Use office for storage 

I have been on conference calls with home workers and their offices look like junk yards with laundry baskets, elliptical machines and tennis racquets clearly visible. This does not create a professional image.

2. Wear P.Js or gym kit

Research  shows that people who dress for the job are more productive than those who don’t. A work wardrobe puts you in a work frame of mind. It needn’t be a power suit and heels but something above the level of sweaty lycra.

3. Blur private and professional

Separating  personal and professional is really important. Never work in bed as both can pollute the other to make you unproductive. Make sure ambient household noise, dishwashers, washing machines and televisions are minimised. Some would add children and pets. This is a tough call, but barking dogs and crying children are a distraction. If your child is crying, it is probably because he/she needs your attention. It’s best to find a way to prioritise.Tweet this

4. Over personalise

It’s fun to have some personal statements and effects, but too many can detract from the job in hand.

5. Over share on social media

Your clients may not take kindly to pictures on Facebook of outings with friends when you are supposed to be meeting a deadline, so bear that in mind when posting your updates. Be careful as well of “check-ins” unless it doesn’t matter who knows where you are.

6.  Do  household chores during work hours.

It can become extremely distracting to split your attention and a danger zone many freelancers get into. It can take twice as long to complete your work.

7.  Ignore your daily plan

It’s important to create a daily to do list and a schedule that allows you be productive. Any deviations can be counter productive. This is not to be confused with flexibility, but losing focus.

What else would you add?

3Plus, Career, I, Enrepreneur
Staff Writer: Career
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  • I like having a Power Hour. Do something focussed for 1 hour. Then move on. The deadline makes me very productive, and helps me prioritise within the task.
    I also like having ‘make up time’. So if I don’t put in my hours during a particular day I have to make up for it in the weekend or in the evening. That way I make sure I can be flexible and have a call with my mum as well as get my work done.

    • Hi Inga – that’s a good idea. I think old hands all have ways of meeting our goals. It is perhaps for those new to it, it can be difficult to stay focused. I talked to one homeworker who was struggling with her kids not disturbing her when they came in from school. They are older (16) so could wait for 30 mins.

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