5 Tips for Working from Home

I would LOVE to have this foot massage machine under my desk. Had a very relaxing foot massage at the Dodge Suite at TypeAParent ’11.

The last time I sat in a cubicle was years ago. I’m not kidding. The last time I sat in an office was in the mid-90s. My cubicle was small. Enough room for a desk chair, a filing cabinet, some shelves attached to the cubicle walls, and a wrap around desk. I spent so much time in that cubicle…hours and hours. Often I would skip lunch or eat at my desk. I stayed late. Came in early. During summers I would work four long days and one half day only I would work the rest of the day…defeating the purpose of working the summer work schedule.

I thought I would work there forever. And I was on my way until I got pregnant. Suddenly my career took a back seat to my soon-to-be baby. My bulging belly led to frequent bathroom breaks. No more living in my cubicle…not with the need to go to the bathroom never far from my mind.

Just days before my due date, I said goodbye to my office mates, cleaned out my cubicle, and headed home to wait for the baby. I waited and waited and waited. Ten days later, I was the proud parent of one very beautiful baby girl. A scant 3 and a half weeks later I was back at work. Seems unbelievable that I had barely any maternity leave even given that I had had a C-section. But, work called. I needed to work…had no choice but to go back to work.

1. Set up Your Home Office

My home office was far roomier than my old cubicle. No fabric walls. No co-workers stopping by to chat about grout or toilet seats or home improvement projects. No water cooler conversations about the Redskins (why?!) and the Simpson’s. No comfy desk chair. In fact, 16-plus years later I’m still sitting on the folding chair from the card table set that was a Christmas gift from my in laws about 20-plus years ago. One of these days I’ll get an office chair until then I have the back aches to prove that this chair is super uncomfortable.

2. Stock Up on Office Supplies

It’s tempting to use whatever office supplies you have lying around the home. But, don’t. Instead. get in your car, drive to Office Depot, and purchase some basic office supplies. You might need a stapler, a hole punch, notepads, a printer, and printer paper.

3. Set Office Hours

Once I had set up my home office, I was ready to go. Not that I was enthusiastic about working. Far from it. I would have preferred to gaze at my baby for hours on end only stopping to feed and change the baby, but back to work I had to go. Sad, but true.

4. Keep Records

It’s your business, take your business seriously. Keep a folder of receipts. Find a system to keep track of work. Keep a record of money earned. You will be thankful come tax time to have all your records in order.

5. Promote Your Business

You work hard. You do a good job for clients. Word of mouth recommendations are invaluable. Take a moment to contact potential clients. Ask friends to leave reviews about you on Linkedin.

Do you work from home? Where is your home office? I’ve had an office in first one bedroom, then another, then the dining room, and finally the basement office I’m sitting in right now.

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