How To Work from Home (Tips and Examples)

Updated July 21, 2022

With the rise of technology and the desire for a better work-life balance, many professionals have begun to look for more flexible work options. Working from home allows professionals to take care of home life needs, complete work during injury or illness and take on positions that they wouldn't otherwise be able to due to geographic boundaries. However, working from home requires a level of dedication and self-discipline.

In this article, we define working from home, provide tips for working from home, list how to work from home effectively and review which industries offer the most work from home opportunities.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Working From Home

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What is working from home?

Working from home is the process by which professionals complete some if not all of their work within their home rather than at an office. Here are a few examples of different work-from-home scenarios:

  • Telecommuting: Telecommuting is a type of work-from-home format where an employer allows one or more employees to work from home for a few days a week before coming into the office for meetings or other important duties.

  • Remote: Remote work is the process by which company employees work solely from home. This option is typically useful for companies that hire employees who work too far away to commute daily to the office.

  • Freelance/contractual: Freelance or contractual work is a temporary form of employment that can take place in a work from home scenario. For example, freelance writers or website designers may be hired for temporary remote work wherein they complete all of their work from home.

Related: How To Decide if Permanent Work From Is Right for You

Tips for working from home

To make the most out of working from home, you consider the following tips:

Invest in beneficial software and technology

Some jobs may send fax machines, computers or other technology to remote workers so they can access all the same equipment that they would in an office setting. If your employer doesn't send you this technology, take it as an opportunity to invest in high-quality computer models and software programs to maintain your work quality. For example, buying two desktop monitors can help a writer review sources while also completing an article. In addition, a personal Wi-Fi hotspot to attach to your laptop ensures that you'll have Wi-Fi wherever you go.

Create an office space

Creating an office space is extremely important in defining your work-life balance while working from home. The idea of working from your bed or living room couch may sound great, but working in these areas may create the mentality that you should be working all the time even when you're finished working. By designating a room to your office set up, you can walk away from that area at the end of the day and shut the door. It's a psychological trick, but it gives you the illusion that work is over.

Dress for success

Some days it may be nice to work in your pajamas or workout gear, but by dressing up for work at home, you can hold yourself up to professional standards while separating work from home life. For example, by saving lounge wear for before and after your workday, you can associate them with times of rest and rejuvenation instead of work. This may help prevent you from completing work-related tasks when you should be taking advantage of your personal time.

Use your breaks to complete small household tasks

One benefit of working from home is the potential for you to complete household chores as you work, but this could result in your household chores taking over time that would be devoted to completing work tasks. Therefore, use your breaks throughout the day to perform quick and reasonable household chores.

For example, after completing your morning meeting and replying to emails from the previous evening, you can take a 10-minute break to do a load of laundry or load the dishwasher before returning to complete your next task. By doing this, you help create healthy boundaries between your work and home life.

Change up your work environment

Just because you have a work from home job doesn't mean you can't do your work elsewhere. You may decide to work from your favorite restaurant, cafe or outdoor space (if there is Wi-Fi). You could even rent an office space to conduct certain tasks. If your workspace isn't inspiring you don't be afraid to change it up.

Pack a lunch

You may feel like you have time to prepare lunch in the middle of the workday, but this may diminish your working hours and prevent you from eating an actual meal on a busy day. For this reason, act like you will be going into the office and prepare your lunch the night before or the morning of. This ensures that you have a healthy, well-balanced meal that you can take out of the fridge and eat as you work if you have a lot to do.

Related: How To Stay Organized When Working From Home

How to effectively work from home

There are several steps you can take to effectively work from home. Here are six steps to help you adapt to the change and thrive in your work-from-home job:

1. Create a routine schedule

Just as you would in an office, create a routine schedule equipped with working hours, a lunch break and brief break periods. This helps you stay on task and practice good time management to benefit yourself and your company.

2. Communicate with your supervisor during the week

Communication is vital when working from home. By checking in with your manager or employees each day, you can show them that you're engaged and able to uphold good communication even when outside of the office.

If you have a job that doesn't require daily check-ins or questions, consider checking in with your manager every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This way you can check their needs for you at the beginning of the week, check for progress in the middle of the week and get concluding information at the end of the week.

3. Set daily goals for yourself

A key part to effectively work from home is being able to keep yourself motivated and hold yourself accountable since there aren't coworkers and supervisors to do so in person. By keeping a planner or digital reminder of your daily goals, you can promote accountability for completing those specific tasks. This also allows you to plan ahead to complete those tasks on a given day.

4. Make your office space functional and comfortable

When you work from home, you have the advantage of creating a workspace that is all your own. Make sure you use this perk to create a fun and functional office space for yourself. For example, by investing in a large desk, a comfortable chair and personal accents, you can look forward to working in your office and possibly get inspired by it.

5. Take breaks to keep yourself motivated

In an office setting, a coworker may stop by your desk to talk or you might have staff meetings or group lunches outside of the office. This changes when you work from home. There may not be the same distractions and obligations that allow you to step away from your work.

This change might make you feel as though you need to work non-stop all day, but this may not be healthy for you, your work quality or your work ethic. Instead, it may cause your work quality to diminish and you may experience burnout. To prevent this, taking periodic breaks throughout the day is extremely important. It gives you a moment to reset and get motivated for the tasks ahead of you.

6. Create a set stopping point for the day

Setting work-life boundaries are extremely important to effectively work from home. Do this by creating a designated stopping point for the day. For example, make 5:00 p.m. your cutoff for work tasks and a rollover period of 30 minutes if you absolutely need to get an emergency task completed. This ensures that you don't overwork yourself, but it also ensures that you complete your tasks quickly and efficiently with your stopping time in mind.

Related: 20 Productivity Tips For Working From Home

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Industries that typically offer work from home opportunities

There are a variety of industries where work from home positions are available and common. Here are some industry examples and potential work from home jobs you can find within each industry:

  • Federal/state government: Federal and state governments may offer telecommuting or remote work options to their employees, especially those in administration, IT, and marketing.

  • Professional services: Those working as HR personnel, recruiters or administrative assistants may be able to obtain remote work through their employers.

  • Education: There are a variety of online tutoring, grade school and college-level programs that need virtual tutors, teachers or professors to craft lesson plans and teach students. Therefore, if you have a degree in teaching or years of experience working in a particular industry, you may be eligible for a remote teaching position.

  • Sales: Those responsible for running ad campaigns, contributing content or partaking in customer service may be able to do some or all of their tasks from home.

  • Information technology (IT): IT professionals can work for technology companies or IT firms providing customer support or creating software from home.

  • Marketing: Graphic designers, marketing specialists, project managers and content creators can all hold work from home positions.

  • Finance: Certain finance professionals such as accountants, financial consultants, bookkeepers and finance managers can secure remote or telecommuting positions.

  • Health care: Jobs specific to customer service and insurance are typically remote, but doctors and nurses can also offer virtual consultations to their patients.

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