Working in ahHome office or working from home may take many forms such as starting an independent home based online or offline business, telecommuting with or without flextime, becoming an independent freelancer or subcontractor, and more. The many benefits it brings about such as better control over one’s life, better work-life balance, ability to do one’s things and more make this concept very popular. The lack of any structured support system or supervising authority can very easily tempt the home worker to fall into a rut or lose perspective.
Success or the ability to realize the benefits of working from home depend on the home worker exercising great self-control and working towards personal and professional development. This requires doing the right things besides doing things right, a good set-up, effective time management, and inculcating sound leadership and self-development practices to ensure optimal work output. This home office guide to personal and professional development covers all these areas and much more.
Working from home has many advantages, but not everyone tastes success. Success depends on the ability to self-motivate, manage time efficiently, maintain a good support network, budget wisely and more. A person lacking in such traits may ruin his or her personal and professional development by working from home.
Goal setting helps the individual transform their entire life. It helps the individual prioritize time and resources better, discover new ways of doing things, and achieve more in life. All these contribute to enhanced self-esteem as well. The importance of goal setting can never be understated, more so in a home office environment where the individual has to self-manage and remains on his or her own.
Goal setting is indispensable for success. It allows setting high objectives and ambitions and working towards them systematically. Success, however, depends on ten critical factors such as motivation, specificity of the goals, challenges, strategies, direction, commitment, effort, persistence, significance, and feedback or trial and error.
The key characteristics that make proactive leaders click are focusing on the positives and learning from the negatives, decisiveness, thinking on their feet, focus on goal orientation and more. Such factors are vital for personal and professional development, and allow the home worker to attain success.
Maintaining productivity is harder in the home office compared to a traditional office owing to the many possible distractions at home. The home worker needs to set goals, indulge in self-rewards and motivation, take care of one’s heath, show firm resolve in separating work from life, pace work well, remain organized and block distraction and manage time well. Learning to say “no” is an important quality than many home workers lack.
Negotiations are indispensable in any field and more so, in business where negotiations with suppliers, channel partners, customers and others are commonplace. Home based workers would do well to prepare the groundwork well, understand the big picture, apply SWOT, apply creativity, and adopt a win more-win more approach when indulging in negotiations.
These days, email is an indispensable tool for remaining in the loop, and always having access to email to connect to customers, suppliers and others in the value chain, even when on the move, is essential for productivity and success. Ensure you set up email forwarding and vacation messages when not having access to your normal email. Ways of accessing corporate email when on the move may include transferring email clients to a mobile PC or using web-based POP3 Email checkers such as Mail2Web.
The ultimate barometer of personal and professional development is performance, and as such tracking performance to take stock of where one stands is of critical importance in a home office set up. The ways of doing so extendi from simply setting up an alarm clock to using complex online tools. Other methods include securing feedback from bosses and clients and more. Success depends on selecting the method appropriate to the nature of work and relevant to personal circumstances.
Success as a home worker requires high productivity. Among various factors that aid or impede productivity, color plays an often unrecognized yet important role. Blue, green and purple colors, for instance, are “cool” colors; red, yellows, and orange help the home worker feel more invigorated; white either provides a good environment or creates problems and so on. Choose the right color for the home office walls and furnishings to ensure maximum productivity.
Success in a home office depends on tearing oneself away from the computer after the allocated time for work is over and enforcing a clear line of demarcation between personal time and work time. Heavy deadlines and procrastination may tempt the home office worker to remain glued to the computer, but working long hours regularly would eventually result in burn out.
The law of diminishing marginal productivity or diminishing marginal utility holds that while continuous addition of more units of a variable input to fixed inputs increases total marginal output initially, but the rate of marginal increase soon becomes constant and eventually decreases with the additional of more inputs. To ensure maximum efficiency, the home worker needs to apply this law and determine when increase in effort will lead to such reduced marginal output that the increased effort becomes non-viable.
One major consideration for leading a successful personal and professional life is effective time management. Time is much more than money. Time is life. Managing time efficiently requires understanding the real value of tasks to prioritize and optimize schedules. Various time-tested methods such as ABC Analysis, Pareto Principle, Eisenhower method, POSED method and more help in this endeavor.
Working from home saves commuting time and may be a solution to time management issues. The home office also allows implementation of some simple solutions to solve time management issues and increase productivity. Delegating some tasks to children, assigning themes to days to retain focus on particular set of tasks, and investing in software that makes life simple and easy help.
Maslow’s Theory of Motivation lists various levels of achievement that motivates people. For instance, the basic motivation is for food, water and shelter. On meeting these needs, the second level of motivation, which is safety, sets in. The third level of motivation, social; the fourth level self-esteem; and the fifth level, self-actualization may influence the motivation level of home workers either way. An understanding of this theory and its implications help the home worker become better aware of self and exert greater control over life and life plans.
Failure is very often the stepping-stone to success, and many famous personalities have tasted defeat and failure early on in their careers and lives. This is because failure is a valuable and practical learning experience; it hardens perspective; gives one a good understanding of strengths, weaknesses, and limitations; and balances over-confidence and enthusiasm with realism. Very often failure makes apparent the errors in the way, and learning from mistakes allows one to choose the correct path.
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