Home Work 101

Bob Goldman on

What's better: a really great job where you have to go into an office every day or a really awful job you can do from home?

Maybe it's just me, but it's difficult to imagine a job so terrific that it's worth dealing with commutes that are too long, meetings that are too frequent and managers who multiply like cockroaches. (How does a cockroach multiply? Ask one how much is three times seven and you'll find out.)

Yes, working from home can be paradise on the half shell, but you do have to be careful if you want to avoid potential stumbling blocks.

I'm talking serious problems, like joining the Monday morning video staff meeting wearing your pink, teddy bear pj's -- again. Or deciding to put the cost of detergent on your expense account on the workdays you devote to doing the laundry.

Which brings us to "How to Stay Focused When You're Working from Home," Elizabeth Grace Saunder's recent article in Harvard Business Review.

"As someone who has worked from home for 12 years, and been a time management coach for remote workers," Saunders has made it her life's work to come up with tips to "make remote work more productive and satisfying."


Put on those pj's, and let's dive in.

Tip No. 1: Establish Working Hours

"It may sound silly," writes Ms. Saunders, "but if you want to have a focused day of work, pretend you're not working from home."

The idea here is to establish "office hours," even though you are nowhere near your office. Saunders considers herself open for business from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.. If she has a chore she needs to do or, one assumes, an episode of "Baby Yoda" she wants to see, she makes sure these activities do not occur during business hours.


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