Work At Home Agents On The Rise – Best Practices
Today, an estimated 151,000 home-based agents work in the United States. IDC, an information technology consulting firm, predicts the number will double, to over 330,000 by 2012. That is about equal to the population of St. Louis, Missouri.
Confirming this trend, we have observed a significant increase in the number of companies employing work at home agents. Even more companies are actively planning such programs, or are in the exploration stages.
Based on our experience in the work at home industry, we compiled a list of best practices that can help any individual interested in becoming a home agent becoming a successful work at home agent .
How to Find Balance as a Telecommuting Individual
Work At home agents constantly struggle to balance their career and their family life. This struggle is even more difficult for a work at home mom. Without the advantage of having a separate space for work and play, it becomes easy for you to let your work bleed over into your family life and vice versa. However, there are a few simple suggestions you can do to maintain productivity and maximize the time you spend with your family.
Designate An Office Space
You may be tempted to tinker with your laptop while you make dinner, but it’s not the most efficient way to get your work done. Create a space that is dedicated to work-at-home pursuits. Make sure this area is in a quiet place in your home, free from distractions like the television and stereo. Also, try to keep your home office away from the kitchen so you are not tempted to wash the pile of dirty dishes in the sink while you are working.
Create a Schedule
Creating a schedule will not only give your work day structure, but it will help you divide your time effectively between your job and your family. When establishing a routine, work around the kid’s meals and nap-times. Once you’ve established a routine, stick with it. If you don’t finish a task within the allotted time frame, don’t cut into your family time to finish it. Respect the boundaries you’ve created.
Get Some Fresh Air
Being cooped up in the house all day is bound to drive you crazy. When you are not working, get out of the house. Take the kids to the zoo or take a walk around the mall. Leaving the house will allow you to leave your work behind for a few hours and enjoy the time you have with your children. Go outside, take three deep breathes, enjoy the fresh air, clear your head and you will come back more refreshed. Plus, it will provide you the opportunity to stretch your legs and body.
Working from home can be a lonely enterprise. You may have the luxury of working in your pajamas, but you lose the opportunity to interact with colleagues and connect around the water cooler. To avoid feeling isolated, make an effort to meet up with friends at least once a week. Join a working mother’s group or take a recreational evening class. Make sure you create ample opportunities to converse and connect with other adults.
Save the Best Part of Your Day for Your Family
You want to succeed as a telecommuter. However, it’s important to remember that you’re working at home so you can spend more time with your family. Don’t spend all day in front of the computer while your child watches PBS. Schedule your work day, but allocate a large chunk of time to spend with your kids. While you’re working, focus solely on your job. But when you’re with your family, don’t let thoughts of work get in the way.
Know When to “Switch Off”
Working from home, quite contrary to popularly held notions, makes you work even more because there is no demarcation of work time and after hour’s leisure time. The prospect of taking on a lot of assignments and running on the work treadmill nonstop seems absolutely alluring. This can greatly hamper productivity and cause stress related ailments.
For a balanced work from home lifestyle, it is vital to snatch a few hours from your work schedule, and indulge in some fun activities involving you and your kids. It can be anything from taking a walk in the park to dancing and cooking together, or even clearing old, unwanted stuff from the house and organizing a garage sale. The idea is to engage in enjoyable therapeutic activities that help in soothing your tired nerves and help you get back to your work with increased efficiency.
Sign Me Up!
Think you’re ready to be a part of this satisfying new trend, but aren’t quite ready to take the leap into consulting or contract work? Take an inventory of the way you use your time at the office. If you’re already spending a large part of your day on the phone or Internet, you may be perfectly situated to make the transition to working from home. Start slowly, and see how it goes. Broach the idea with your boss by suggesting that you work from home one day a week.
Find a place in your home that’s free of distractions and clutter and set your priorities for the day. Like many people, you may find that having fewer interruptions will enable you to be more productive, all from the comfort of your favorite pair of jeans and that ugly green sweater that no one ever has to se
Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and make every minute count!