82% of workers would love to work from home at least one day a week. Whether that’s because the kids are home, the office life is stressful, or they just want to be away from the probing eyes of the boss, they’re tired of office life.
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely jumped ship. Or is it you’re planning on jumping ship? Either way, you’re here to find out what you need to make your jump successful.
I’d start with never move to California (or move out of California), but that might be insensitive. Instead, we’ll begin by talking about communication. Here’s what you need in the communication arena to work from home.
1. Blazing Fast Internet
Cable has been the king of the internet services realm for quite some time. But fiber is edging its way in.
If you’re stuck with cable or even DSL, I’m sorry. Try and contact your local fiber internet company.
The incredible thing about fiber is that the little guys are pioneering the service. Companies like Shentel Business in Kentucky or my local PocketiNet here in Walla Walla are pushing the big cable companies out.
You can have extremely fast internet at a reasonable price. Fast internet might seem like something frivolous until you try to conduct a conference call with your clients. Your video chat becomes as grainy as it would have been in 2005. You drop your call constantly. You lose the client over your crummy internet.
2. A Business Phone
Your emotional intelligence drops when you are around your phone. It’s calling to you even now. Pehhhht meeeeeeee! It mews.
You spend precious mental resources resisting its call. And eventually, you acquiesce its pleas for comfort. You’re on Facebook before you know it.
If you have a separate phone, even if it’s Skype on your browser, you give yourself permission to turn off your smart phone. At first, this might cause anxiety, but you’ll find it opens up hours of productivity.
3. A Space Apart
I didn’t heed this at first. I wrote in the living room, I wrote in our library room. I even tried to write in bed one morning.
I did not spend my time efficiently. And when it was time to stop working, I couldn’t relax.
My solution was a coworking space in town. They give you free coffee and large high-def HDMI monitors. I’ve made connections and increased my opportunities all the while. In essence, I quit being a hermit.
If you still want to work from home, then set up a space apart from the rest of your house. If you live in a studio apartment, get a curtain or a divider and portion off a spot to work. This should only be used for work.
For some reason, our brains attach to a specific location for work. When we consistently use the same space for work, we enter into work mode easier. Do your working brain a favor and keep the separation of work and home sacred.
4. Get All the Office Stuff
I still have my stapler from college. My mom painted my name on the body with a silver pen.
Just because you’re not in a corporate office doesn’t mean you won’t need officey things.
Sure, you might not need a copier. You can save money by using the printer at the library if you ever need to print something.
But you might need a shredder. Or even a water cooler so you don’t have to go far when thirsty.
I have a whiteboard in my office. It helps to write down your ideas and keep track of your goals in an analog fashion.
Desk organizers are a must. A messy desk will increase your anxiety. Keep it neat even if you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder.
5. Business Casual
There’s a saying, “dress for the job you want to have” or something like that. In freelancing, I’d say, dress for the money you want to earn.
If you slide out of bed without putting on pants, grab your coffee and slink into your desk chair, what kind of income are you telling yourself to make? The kind neckbeards make while living in their mom’s basement and flipping burgers at the local burger joint?
Even if you don’t change your underwear (I don’t want to know), cover up with something that looks at least semi-professional. Jeans and button-up will do. Hell, you can even dress like Steve Jobs in your normcore black jeans and black turtleneck and you’re already dressing for success.
6. Operating Hours
“What if I have a client in China!?” Well, they can email you. Or maybe you can one-off a 3 AM call. But don’t make those 3 AM calls the norm.
Why? Because you’re the boss of your own business, not them. (Unless you’re working remote and have a boss in China…then that’s your own damn fault.)
Keeping operating hours will give you the permission you need to set up boundaries. If you’re off at 6 pm every day, you won’t feel like you have to answer that email during your date at 7:30 pm.
7. Get Out of the House
If you’re married or living with someone, this is super important. You will become a social wreck and your partner will notice. Your sentences will become shorter, your mind will implode and eventually you’ll be the shadow of your former self.
This is why I started paying for a coworking space. I needed social contact. I was getting lonely and then expecting my wife to alleviate my loneliness.
Make friends in your community. Network. Go on coffee dates. This will force you to change your underwear and take a shower every once in a while. And it will stimulate your mind so you can be more productive during the week.