Take Small Steps Toward Working From Home Rather Than A Big Leap

by WorkFromHome on July 9, 2011

Still sighing over wanting to work from home, but no closer to making the leap from your full time position in an office to one in your home office? That is, the home office that you are yet to create out of your home’s spare room. If you are petrified by the thought of risking it all to try working from home or owning your own business, then take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. These are very valid concerns, so it makes sense that you have held off on disrupting your life without mitigating the risk that you would not be happy with the results. The good news, though, is that with some preparation you can ease your way from the office to your home office without making a scary jump.

Become A Flexible Employee To Keep Your Feet In Both Worlds

Some office workers crave the flexibility to change their schedule to fit their families’ needs but fear feeling isolated if they decide to work from home in order to get that flexibility. More and more Australian businesses, both large and small, have begun to realize that the quality of an employee’s work has little to do with how much “face time” he or she puts in at the office. As a result, the current trend is to not only allow employees, regardless of what level in the company they are at, to explore flexible work solutions but many major corporations even encourage doing so. The reasoning is that a happy employee is a productive one.

You can start your exploration by asking your manager about flexible work solutions available. Even if no one else is currently utilizing a flexible schedule, you can still ask to be the first. Try working from home one day a week to see how it goes. You may find that you get a great deal more work done than you ever did while being interrupted at the office or you may be frustrated by the lack of contact with your colleagues. Every situation will be different, so taking a tentative first step that does not require you to uproot your entire life on a hunch that you want to work from home is a good way to start investigating.

Conference Calls Keep You Connected

Even if you are working from home full time, you can still stay connected to your colleagues in the office through technological advances like e-mail and conference calls. A conference call means that you can attend all the same meetings over the phone that you would have had to dress up in a suit in order to attend if you were at the office. Be careful while on a conference call, though, since you cannot see who the other participants may have sitting in their offices during the meeting. Speaking out of turn about someone could turn into a political minefield for you or, worse, brand you within the office as someone who is unprofessional.

Keep Your Career Moving Forward By Checking In

Despite working from home, you still need to check in with your boss on a regular basis. To keep your career moving upwards, though, you also need to make sure that you are not forgotten by others in your department or organization. Attend the company holiday party and other team building events so that your team members as well as others in your organization know what you look like when you call in for a conference call, are mentioned by your boss, or send an e-mail to one of them.

Your colleagues and business partners will be more likely to respond to your requests if they feel like they know who you are while your dedication to being a part of the team will not go unnoticed or unappreciated by your boss or his or her superiors. Going the extra mile to go into the office once in a while for major presentations as well as to help out at crunch time, such as just before filing deadlines at an accounting firm, will also be looked upon favourably. Just make sure that once you get there you are actually helpful rather than just a talkative pest!

Similarly, when you show up to the office for a major presentation or a meeting, you need to make sure that you have dressed according to the dress code for the office, not your own personal dress code for working on your laptop from your living room sofa. Showing up to the office is unprofessional and doing so will undo all of your years of hard work on growing your professional image. It sounds obvious, but many professionals working from home commit this faux pas. When it comes time for your business’s human resources department to award raises bonuses and promotions it is an image that sticks in everyone’s minds and unfortunately, as a result, can significantly hamper your future financially and professionally.

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