One of the best perks of my job is that I get to work from home. I obviously get to enjoy all the advantages that go with this environment – flexible hours, no commuting in rush hour traffic, a whole load of savings in gas money, and being able to avoid the hassle of deciding what to wear each day to the office.
Those who have regular nine to five jobs are naturally envious of me, but what they don’t see beneath the rosy exterior are the errors that you tend to make when you work from home. For those of you who think things are hunky dory when you’re able to work from the comfort of your residence, go ahead, but before you do so, ensure that you don’t make these mistakes and land yourself in professional hot water:
- Get on the wrong side of colleagues and your boss: It’s easy to offend or hurt someone because you don’t see them on a regular basis and because you don’t know them well enough. You don’t have to bend over backwards to please people, but make sure you stay in their good books so that working together (in case of joint projects that need teamwork) is not too much of a strain.
- Send out emails before you think them through: When you work from home, and especially if you live far away from the rest of your team and distance makes phone calls an expensive proposition, you’re most likely going to use email for all your correspondence. Make sure you follow protocol, if there is any, for official emails, and that you read your letters through a few times before you hit the send button. It’s easy to be misunderstood when you don’t express yourself as well as you should. Emails that are likely to generate controversy must be thought through very carefully before they’re sent out.
- Assume you have all the time in the world: One thing that can be used in the argument against working from home is that this option tends to make you lazy. You don’t have the initiative to get up early in the morning because you don’t have to get dressed and battle the rush hour traffic in an effort to get to the office on time. You know you can work anytime you choose, and this gives you a false sense of complacency that usually leaves you scrambling to meet deadlines at the last minute and compromising on your work as a result.
- Let yourself go personally: Working from home means you don’t get to meet people and socialize on a regular basis. And this means that you tend to ignore your external appearance. While it’s true that real beauty comes from within, it’s important to pay attention to your personal grooming and keep yourself in the best possible shape so that you don’t feel like a frump when you do have to go out and get a regular job.
It’s a great way to earn a living – there is no office tension and the fear of your supervisor peering over your shoulders. But it’s up to you to make working from home really work for you by avoiding these common mistakes.
This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy who writes on the subject of job websites. She invites your feedback at HollyMcCarthy12 at gmail dot com.