Posted by: Terry Nederveld | August 6, 2009

Working Remotely

I know that there are a bunch of you that work remotely from your homes and I know some of you wish you could. Currently, I commute to my office over 40 miles away. There are some days that I wish I could go back to the 30 second commute but most days I am happy to be in an office. To give you a little background, two years ago I took a position that required me to be in the office every day. Before that I worked remotely for more than 5 years with a company that wasn’t even in the same state that I lived in. And I was not a contractor, I was a full fledge employee.  Most people when asking what I did for a living would say “Oh, you work from home? Gosh that has got to be nice.” Well sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s not. To be able to work from home every day you have to be very disciplined. Can’t get distracted to easily, and trust me there is a ton of things around to pull you every which way. Some people never understood that I worked for an actual company because that company didn’t have  a local office. Here are my tips that helped me work from home for so long.

Make sure you have a separate office away from the living area of the house. I found that if I used a laptop and roamed the house working. I would work 12, 14, even 16 hours without even knowing it. Granted that was a good thing for my employer, but not so great for my family. Keep them as separated as possible.

If you are a consultant you may not be able to do this. But I highly suggest that you have a computer that is dedicated solely to work and one for personal. Don’t have any personal items on the work computer and vice versa. That work machine is property of the company you are working for, it is not yours. I guess that is good advice even if you are in an office.

Make sure you have a reliable internet connection. This will allow you to VPN, remote desktop, and operate as though you were in the same building as everyone else. For the longest time I had DSL with 756KB down from the local internet company. It wasn’t until recently that company bumped the connections up to 5MB.

Interaction is good, you don’t realize it until you are away from it. But those little interruptions from co-workers stopping by help break up the day. If the company can, setup an extension that routes directly to your home/office/cell phone. And use it.

Make sure that you are accessible. Even though you have a lot of freedom, you don’t want your manager to be trying to reach you at 9AM and you are at your kids school (unless you told him before hand).

Do not have a TV in your office. I know some people that are able to have it going in the background. But you never know when Doctor Phil is going to have on the one handed blind teacher that slept with one of her students and whoops there goes an hour and you didn’t even know it. I always had speakers on my desktop machine and had a plethora of music to listen to.

Keep track of your home office expenses, at least in the USA you can put it on your taxes and get a little break from the big green monster (US government). We will pay taxes until we die and even some after here in America, so keep track because you can write off almost everything related to your home office. I must also say, I am not a tax accountant! You can’t say to the IRS, well Terry said so.

Find your rhythm, everyone has those optimal hours that they work well. Mine is surprisingly early. I find now that my most productive time is early in the morning. When I worked from home it was late at night. Find your time and you will be ecstatic from the amount of work you will get done in that time frame.

And sometimes you are not working from home but are traveling. Make sure  when you are traveling you have your: laptop, power supply, and network cable. Always carry a network cable, some hotels still don’t have wireless throughout the entire place and the only way to get connected is through a network cable. And most of those hotels charge for you to use theirs.

I  am sure that there is more items that you will think of. Feel free comment them below.

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Responses

  1. […] Terry https://nederveld.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/working-remote/ […]

  2. A lot of of guys blog about this matter but you said some true words!!


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