For years I spent an endless amount of time in the office—sometimes even going in on weekends to knock stuff off my list. That’s why it’s hard to believe I’ve been working from home for nearly 12 years now—much longer than I ever worked on-site.
One thing I know for sure as a seasoned teleworker is that everyone’s experience is different—and even your own personal experience will likely change depending on your mood or circumstance.
When we first bought a house, I spent a small fortune outfitting a spare bedroom with the desk of my dreams, a dry-erase wall calendar, a bulletin board, and file cabinets. I put my home office to excellent use until I had another kid who needed the space. These days, I’ve forgone all the “extras” and make do with a simple laptop, adjustable computer table, and expandable file. Sometimes I sit in a recliner by the window, sometimes I crash at the dining room table, sometimes I work in the backyard where my kids are playing. Portability is what suits me right now.
What’s best for you? Only you can figure that out. But I can get you started with a checklist and some helpful tips on working from home like a boss.
THE BASICS—Customize to your needs, style, and space
PC or Mac, Dell or HP, touchscreen or convertible tablet—it’s up to you. I do feel pretty strongly that a laptop is the best option for teleworkers, though. It’s always nice to have the freedom to move from room to room, go to the local coffeehouse, or take it with you to in-person meetings.
– DESK AND CHAIR
If If you’re working remotely, you need to be accessible via phone and email 24/7. Make sure you have a cellphone you like having glued to your hand.
– EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
To quote one of my favorite episodes of Sex & the City, “Apparently, everybody’s secretly running home at night and backing up their work.” Unless you want to lose everything like Carrie, get some extra data storage ASAP.
For note taking, list making, and brainstorming I’m mostly a pen-and-paper girl. I also love the first-day-of-school rush I get buying a notebook that best expresses my sense of self.
THE EXTRAS—Go for it!
– ‘CASUAL FRIDAY’ WARDROBE BASICS
Some freelancers keep it super casual in their pajamas, but I’m more productive and confident when I feel comfortable but look respectable. I go for “workplace casual” styles like soft, wide-leg jeans and a cute jacket or moto vest.
– MEANINGFUL CONTACT
Working remotely can be lonely. Often your colleagues and social media contacts are the only people you’re communicating with for 8 hours straight, and they’re no substitute for the real deal. Take a break and chat with your neighbors, meet your bestie for breakfast, or read a book to your kids.
– SOMETHING GREEN
– THE MEANS TO GET ACTIVE
– A SMARTLY STOCKED KITCHEN
Goodbye morning muffins, greasy burgers, and vending machine crisps. Now you have no excuse to eat better, so start the day with a homemade omelet of egg whites, cheese, and fresh vegetables and keep going from there.
Share your own tips for working from home with us!