If working from home means wearing the same baggy t-shirt and pajama bottoms every day, you need to re-evaluate how your professionalism is being perceived. Here are six tips on how to maintain professionalism when working from home.
Video conferences call for a professional appearance. When you are used to working alone, you can forget to react to the other person. You forget to smile. Always begin and end a business session with a welcoming acknowledgment. If you shared the same real space, you would shake hands.
The way you dress can affect your productivity. If you feel most productive and ready to work in your pajamas, by all means try it. However, if you have a client coming over or you have a video conference, dress professionally. You represent your business and professional dress gives you the appearance of authority and trust. You don’t necessarily have to wear a suit and tie, but if you have any meetings try a nice blazer from reem clothing for a more business casual look.
Keep Living and Work Space Separate
Make yourself get out of bed every morning. Wash, dress and go to the office. You can set it up any way you like, but dedicate your office space to work. A separate work space is vital to a professional demeanor. If you have a family, this also helps to separate work time and family time. Let your kids know that when you are in your office, you are busy working. Then when you stop working for the day, leave your work in the office and try not to finish assignments during family dinner or hang out time.
Keep to a Schedule and Take Breaks
You might be eleven hours into a tech problem or a research project before you come up for air. This will wreck your professional life. Your work schedule will begin to unravel. Show up for work on time. Set a time for answering emails, making calls and posting. Take a lunch break. Your body and mind get used to the routine, and it becomes self-perpetuating. You become more efficient. You get more done. The great thing about running a business from home, is you often get to choose your days off. This is great if you have a family vacation or an emergency, but try to plan ahead and work relatively normal hours most days.
It’s easy to multitask when you’re at home. Start a load of laundry. Put a pizza in the oven. Take the dog for a walk. Next thing you know, you’re in front of the Wii with the dog at your feet and a pileup of unanswered phone calls back in your office. Keep a professional focus. This is your job and you will be more successful if you dedicate an allotted amount of time to just your job.
Meet Clients Outside
It’s good to have the occasional reality check. Meet clients at a public place, over coffee or at an internet cafe. Wear a suit jacket. Practice your professionalism in real time. It will help you stay polished at home.
The advantages of working at home are many. Informal attire, a schedule you make yourself and an absence of supervision can work against you, though. You are your own boss. Keep your professionalism in view. You are your own boss and you want your company to be successful, so stay professional and work hard!