Many companies are including options for working from home now—and hopefully more and more will embrace the opportunity to employ home-based employees. It just makes sense for so many people and companies. After all of these years working for myself and working in academia, I cannot imagine going back to an environment where I am punching the theoretical time clock by working in an office all day, every day.

tips_for_executives_working_remotelySo, here are some rules for working from home that I have come up with. I suggest that you set your own rules for yourself that make the most sense for you. And perhaps my rules will be food for thought for you.

Rule #1, set boundaries.

Do not do what I am doing right now, which is typing on my computer at 8:41pm. I am usually really good about setting boundaries for work from everything else. But, like many people, I really love what I do—therefore the line quite often blurs between work and the other stuff. So, to make sure that work doesn’t take over, I try to stop working by dinnertime and don’t open my computer again until the morning. Someday I hope to stop responding to work texts and emails via phone in the evening, too—but for now, that is the one parameter I (almost always) put on myself.

Rule #2, interact with other humans! 

This one really got to me when I was working in my home office in a converted garage behind my house. I could sit in my office for eight hours a day and work for hours on end without interaction with another person (or getting up to use the bathroom for that matter).  Now, I have the opportunity to interact with my wonderful colleagues in the USF Health SELECT Medical School Program. While I enjoy my alone time working from home, I appreciate the chance to actually speak to other live humans some of the time.

Rule #3, accept the fact that you really do get more work done in half the time.

The number one reason I love working from home (besides being able to transition from a morning walk right into work mode without makeup or changing my clothes) is absolutely that I get so much accomplished in less time. Outside of my three and a half year-old traipsing through with our nanny and asking me to get his snacks, or one of my four rescues - two cats and two dogs - wanting petting (I literally just had to push one of the cats off of my keyboard), I love working without the distractions and interruptions of working in an office environment.  

Rule #4, integrate life and work time during the day—it is all about balance.

Since I don’t have a problem with getting things done, I make sure that I make time to start dinner while I am still working, take breaks to actually pet the fur kids and interact with my little guy when he is around, and throw in the occasional load of laundry. This relates back to rule #3—since I am so much more efficient not commuting to my office when it isn’t necessary and being interrupted with work distractions, I have time get my work done while taking the needed breaks and accomplishing little household (life) tasks without guilt or burden later on.

Rule #5, make sure you have an established work area.

I used to have a home office. My first in-home office space was in our former guest room (which is now my son’s room). Then I moved to our garage which was converted to an office space. But, a few years ago we transitioned that space into a snowbird apartment for my parents. So, now my self-designated workspace is in my dining room. We are all so mobile with our laptops, I can just set up shop anywhere and I (rarely) leave much of a trace behind. For me, the most important thing is a comfortable chair and the right level to type on my laptop to prevent my herniated disc from flaring up after I sit for too many hours. However, this rule is made to be broken, because, occasionally, you will find me outside on the back patio on a beautiful day.


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