Thanks in large part to technology, working from home — or telecommuting — is big and it’s getting bigger. More than 2.6% of U.S. employees (3.3 million people, not including the self-employed) roll out of their bed and into their office chair each workday, an increase of 80% since 2005. Factor in entrepreneurs and it’s believed 1 in 5 Americans now call home their workplace.
As an at-home worker, you could save between $2,000 and $7,000 in transportation and other costs annually, a nice bundle of cash to help create a healthy and productive home office you’ll enjoy working in.
Here are 3 ways to make telecommuting work for you:
- Location: You’re going to be doing real work, not your taxes, so don’t make your kitchen your office. Choose a spare bedroom, if possible, or an area of your home where you won’t hear your kids playing video games or your spouse on the phone.
- Home office, not office home: You don’t have to work in a drab office so don’t replicate that environment at home. Give yourself ample space, plenty of natural light, a desk light, an ergonomic chair and a large enough computer screen. If looking out the window won’t distract you (much), orient your desk so you face a window — heck, your boss had a corner office with a view, why shouldn’t you?
- Smart filing: While you don’t want to work in a tiny impersonal office cubicle, you may not have a huge space to devote to your home office. Be sure to organize filing and storage effectively in a way that complements your work style — drawers or filing cabinet, for instance, but not boxes or piles on the floor. Except for your most pressing to-do items, keep your stored papers behind you or in a closet while you’re working.
You’ll find more great home office design ideas here and here. Do you work at home? Tell us about what you love — or dislike — most about it and how you make your home office space work for you in the Shop Talk Blog community forum!
Did you know: 1 in 2 of us can telecommute?
It’s estimated that 50% of us have jobs compatible with at least part-time telecommuting. Those most conducive to home work? Management, professional and sales. Least likely? Not surprisingly, farming, fishing and the military. (Source)