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Work At Home Tips For A Beginner Learn More About It

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Submitted by: Robert Corter

I have worked at home since 1996. I edit medical records and provide quality assurance for an international electronic medical records company and the vast majority of my colleagues work from home also. I enjoy working from home; no expensive commute, no work wardrobe, no temptation to hit the deli for lunch every day, and on my breaks I can do fun things like laundry and cleaning the refrigerator.

Over the years I have made a few discoveries about the down side of working from home. Don’t think it’s all eating bon bons and watching soap operas; a job from home is still a job. To wit:

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1. You need to let people know you really are “at work.” When I tell people I work from home, some folks seem to get the idea that this means that I’m available for chitchat on the phone, that I spend my time watching TV and that my full attention isn’t really necessary for my job. Not so much. I have to give concentrated attention to my work for the minimum of eight hours a day just like everybody else, so I don’t have time for socializing; I’m on the clock. I had to set boundaries early on or I would have never gotten anything done. This includes telling friends that even though I’m at home, I really don’t have time to listen to their problems right now or give advice to the lovelorn. I mean it.

2. Working from home can be very isolating. Sometimes if it weren’t for the UPS guy I’d go for days without seeing anyone. My check is direct deposited so there’s no need to go to the bank. I keep in touch with my boss and my coworkers over the phone, IMs and emails, so even though I talk to the folks I work with daily, I’ve never met any of them. I have to make a point to get together with friends to go out and do something fun now and then, and get around people. I’m sort of an introvert anyway so it would be really easy for me to just turn into a recluse and disappear. For my own sanity I have to make sure that I don’t do this.

3. Just because you can work from home in your pajama bottoms and a ragged t-shirt doesn’t mean that you should. Yes, there are some nights when it’s all I can do to throw on yesterday’s shorts and get to my office to clock in before I put on the coffee pot, never mind running a comb through my hair or brushing my teeth. Sometimes I have bad days like everyone else and since I work from home I have the option of foregoing a few of the niceties I would have to observe if I worked in an office. However, I try to make these days the exception rather than the rule. It’s not good for me to get too slack about my appearance or put off taking care of myself until some other time. It’s important to me that I at least follow a few of the workday kind of conventions, so most of the time I take a few minutes and do my hair, put on a little makeup, put on an outfit I could be seen in public in, and put on some shoes so in case I have an emergency I can drop everything and go on a moment’s notice. Besides, I am a professional, and it makes me feel more like I know what I’m doing if I don’t look like a slob.

Working at home can be really nice. I do get to spend more time with my family than I would if I had a long commute. I can make it to more ball games and recitals and graduations than I would if I were stuck in a cubicle all day. However, the main problems I run into have to do with isolation on the job and the inherent dangers of negelcting myself. As long as I keep those things in check, working at home works out just fine.

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