28 Jan 2013
By Mark Evans
Most days, you need to be at your business, managing your employees, maintaining your clients and keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s going on.
But every once in awhile, it’s helpful to step back and work from home. Perhaps you need to deal with year-end numbers or write up a major report and need some quiet to concentrate. More likely, you’ll work from home on the days when you’re not feeling well, a child is at home with a cold, or the weather is against your commute.
So if today is one of those days where you won’t be going far to get your work done, here are some suggestions for making the most of your time away from the fray.
Plan your communications
Let everyone back at the office or main shop know where you are and precisely when you’ll be checking in. A mid-day and late-day call can get you in the loop about what’s going on. It also provides a time for everyone to save up their questions — and not send them via email. If a crisis comes up, resist the urge to send a million emails or run in. Instead, set up a conference call and deal with it quickly.
To avoid constant interruptions from email, shut off your WiFi (unless you’re doing research) and just check your email every few hours.
Delay certain tasks
Some in-house managements concerns can almost always wait a day. Encourage your team to hold off decisions, HR issues and other moves until you are back. Let your work-from-home day be about a select few projects so you can truly focus.
Find a space
If you plan to be working at home from time to time (or you often take work home in the evenings), be sure you have a good place to work. A nook with good lighting, up-to-date equipment, a comfortable chair and, ideally, a door you can close will help you get your work done.
Train your family
If family members are around during the day when you’re working, educate them on what you’re doing and when it’s acceptable to interrupt you (for instance, not when you’re on a call, or when your door is closed). Work out times that you do stop working, such as at lunchtime, to talk to everyone.
A walk or run around the block, a visit to the local coffee shop or a break to run an errand can help keep you focused through the work day.