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Working from Home

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Wouldn't it be great to get up at 7.55am and be at work at eight? How about not spending an hour or so getting to work and back home? How about working in cosy surroundings? Such as your home?

No, there's no need to become a paperback writer, a painter or a telephone tarot card reader. Many jobs today take place in front of a computer or on the phone... or both. As long as you've got a computer and a phone, you can start working from your home. But there are things you should know about it first. Read on.

The rules of home working

  • Find a Good Place to Work
    The best place to work is a separate room dedicated as your home office. The second best is a corner of another room, where you have a desk and a chair suitable for long work days. Sitting on a hard chair at your kitchen table will give you an aching back within weeks, and the location will allow you to be distracted by the contents of your refrigerator.

  • Make Things Work
    All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, a phone... and there you go. Make sure the arrangement works all right. The applied science of 'ergonomics', which is concerned with designing and arranging things so that people function efficiently in comfort and safety, is an important issue in business and industry. You are bound to go nuts if you have to walk to the other end of the room in order to pick up the phone, or if you have to end your Internet connection to make a phonecall.

  • Keep in Touch
    Most people fear that your social life at work comes to an end if you leave your office to work from home. But in numerous cases your relationship with your colleagues improves. You don't see all of your best friends every day, do you? In every case, pass your colleagues an email asking how they are, and take time to discuss things on the phone... And don't forget to meet up with them just to have fun every now and then.

  • Get Out!
    No matter what kind of home you have, it could make you go ga-ga if you spend 24 hours a day in it. Get out, whenever you can, to clear your head and to see other people.

  • What Time is it?
    Working outside working hours is no sin. Taking a nap in your home office is not either, as long as you get your work done. But too much of either of these is dangerous. In a down-period, you should be able to pull yourself together to continue; and in a hectic period, you should be able to actually set the work aside at some time during the day... And do something else apart from sitting in front of your computer.

  • Draw a Line
    Tell yourself, and those around you, about the limits of when you are supposed to work and when you are supposed to be off work. Don't spend your working days picking up groceries or cooking large meals, 'since you are there anyway'; and don't spend all of your time off working, even though your office equipment 'is there anyway'. A home office is convenient, but don't let convenience get in the way of your social life.

Home working is not a new idea, but more and more people are doing it, as a general business pattern, from distribution of hardware products to management of knowledge. If you start working from home, you should share your experiences with the rest of the world.

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