About 37 percent of Americans have telecommuted for work, according to a 2015 Gallup poll. That number marks a sharp increase compared to 20 years ago, when only 9 percent said the same. As more companies look to save money and keep employees happy (and productive), the number of Americans working from home is expected to continue to rise. But for workers who are new to the gig, it can be challenging to find a schedule and rhythm that works at first.
Many independent meeting planners have been working from home since before it was trendy for employers to offer telecommuting days as a perk. We polled 12 of them—some with 15 or 20 years of remote working under their belt—to glean their best tips for making working from home, well, work. The obvious responses included planning out your day in blocks of time, scheduling time for exercise, and making sure you get out of the house to connect with industry colleagues and friends, but there are some unique gems in the mix as well.
“Four days a week I shower and get dressed as if I am going into the office. On Fridays I do a dress-down day. It helps me keep a professional attitude and let my children know I am working and not to be disturbed.”
—Claire Stroope, Senior Manager Americas of Global Meeting Services, Oracle
“Have a list of your first 10 calls. Do them before you do anything else. Turn on your email only after you have completed them.”
—Geoffrey Cooke, Vice President, HPN Global
“Have a set routine to start your day. I wake up and get ready, and head out and grab a Starbucks (I always walk, so it feels like I am walking to work). When I get back home, I walk straight into my office and start my day.”
—Trish Quillen, Vice President of Global Accounts, ConferenceDirect
“I’ve been working from home for over seven years, and with two dogs and children, I’ve realized how important it is to create private space. I decided to convert our existing garden shed into a quiet sanctuary to focus on work. It’s nice to be removed from home to really stay focused.”
—Audrey Van Alyea, Director of Global Accounts, HelmsBriscoe