How Does One Start a Career Out of The Living Room?

This guest post is courtesy of Katie Garrity

While Yahoo recently banned telecommuting, the number of workers doing their jobs from home one day a week or more is rising rapidly. In Washington, D.C. alone, telecommuting went up 95 over last year, resulting in 390,000 fewer car trips for the crowded metro region. Workers may telecommute regularly, occasionally or on a semi-regular basis, such as every Friday.

While telecommuting has gotten a bit of a bad rep as a way to work at a more relaxed pace, almost three quarters of survey respondents found the work from option option actually increased productivity. When you're working from home as an employee or a contractor, these four tips can help you make the most of the experience.

Have a Daily Routine

By committing to a daily routine, you set aside dedicated time for work and home. If you're expected to mirror the typical 9 to 5, do so. If you can set your hours, choose a full 8-hour workday that works for you and schedule yourself accordingly. Work from 7 to 3 or from 10 to 6. It really is up to you. But setting a consistent time to be dressed and at your desk helps you meet deadlines and remain accountable to colleagues.

Dress for Work

It can be tempting to stay at home in your PJs and work: They're cozy, no one will see you and it seems like an appropriate perk of telecommuting. However, taking the time to get dressed will help put you in the frame of mind for work. You don't need to put on a suit. Just put on something like you would typically wear to work or to a casual Friday. The clothes subtly boost your frame of mind and make it easier to put the “work” in work from home.

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Use a Dedicated Space

When you work from home, it can be all too easy to continue working after hours. You receive an email from your boss asking you to double check that report; why not open up your laptop at the kitchen table and do it right then and there? When you keep work to a dedicated space, it is easier to keep the same boundaries you would have in an office. If you have a studio apartment, consider creating a work corner in the apartment or treating your local cafe or library as your new office. You'll find this helps you truly relax at home because you won't feel like you're “always on.”

Work With the Right Tools

Software and devices power your telework life. To juggle commuting with telework, use a laptop and/or a tablet. Have a smartphone on hand to connect with the office, check email on the go and remain in touch. If you're an online retailer, there are apps like customer service chat widgets that can get you off to a good start. There are also services like Meylah that can help small businesses implement a social storefront and community-powered marketplace. To handle file management, consider a cloud-based utility like Google Drive or DropBox. These programs allow you to work on documents, presentations or spreadsheets, and save and access them from any computer. Colleagues can view, download and and comment on files right in Drive. Google Drive also provides an offline mode, according to, so users can access documents even when the Internet is down.

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main image by wrumsby

Guest post by Katie Garrity. A real go-getter, Katie encourages others to shoot for the stars and be the best in the world of business. She loves sharing tips on how to build your own successful startup.


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