At least 8 million American workers work from home, according to Census Bureau data and Quartz at Work.
That’s more than 5% of the country’s workforce or one in 20 workers.
If you’re planning to join the growing legions of work-at-homers, you’re no doubt worried about managing the transition without compromising your prized productivity.
Will your decision to work from home part- or full-time condemn you to a life of interruptions, distractions, and frustrations?
Not if you play the transition right. Start by implementing these five strategies to hit the ground (or chair) running.
How To Work From Home Without Losing Productivity
1. Carve Out Your Own Space, Preferably With A Door
Tempting as it seems, working from the comfort of your living room couch or kitchen table is not a recipe for success. Use a spare bedroom, bonus room, three- or four-season porch, or — in a pinch — bedroom alcove, instead.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a livable outbuilding at your disposal, like a bonus room above a detached garage, consider turning part or all of it into an office suite.
2. Choose A Side Project (Or Full-Time Opportunity) That Ignites Your Passion
Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it enough to self-motivate. Everyone’s passions are different, but pursuing an opportunity that allows you to live your values every day is generally a safe bet.
Helping local charities and community groups raise money is a great option and a potentially lucrative one. According to the experts at ABC Fundraising, fundraising distributors can earn $5,000 per month or more while working full-time from home.
3. Develop A Legit Filing System
Invest in at least one sturdy filing cabinet and a premium subscription to a secure cloud storage app. Clutter — digital and physical — is kryptonite for your productivity.
4. Splurge On Good Furniture
Furniture features prominently on any self-respecting list of the key elements of a well-organized home office. Don’t scrimp on it. And be sure to choose furniture that actually fits your tastes — a standing desk only makes sense if you enjoy standing for hours on end.
5. Invest In Clerical Support, Even If They’ll Never See The Inside Of Your Home Office
Last, but not least, invest in support staff or contractors. Because you work from home, these helpers will almost certainly work remotely, and you may never meet them at all. But their assistance will be invaluable. Just look at this list of potential tasks to outsource to a virtual assistant.
Home Sweet Work-at-Home
Working from home has many benefits, from the nonexistent commute to the absence of awkward coworking interactions, to the potential tax breaks associated with working out of a home office.
The work-at-home life isn’t perfect, of course. Many former office-dwellers miss the camaraderie and socialization of a traditional workplace, and there’s a compelling argument to be made that working in close proximity to other bright, ambitious people is a boon for creativity and performance.
Your profession, personality, and non-work obligations will probably determine how you take to working from home. Chances are, you’ll embrace it like second nature. But, remember, the transition isn’t an irreversible one.
If you decide you’d rather swim with the office fish, after all, you won’t lack for choice.