Gini Dietrich

Getting Things Done: Why Working at Home is Better

By: Gini Dietrich | January 24, 2013 | 

Yesterday, we spent a good hour with Sarah Evans talking about [Re]frame, her book of daily inspirations.

During the live Q&A (you can see the archive here), the topic of working at home came up (she works from home about 70 percent of the time and in the Tracky offices the rest).

Steven Coyle said he finds working at home really appealing, but a lot people feel they can’t stay focused. He asked, “Do you have advice on working from home and staying focused? Does having your husband and son there ever get in the way of work?”

Our own Lindsay Bell chimed in and said she has a harder time focusing when her son is home from school or her husband has a day off of work.

For me, it doesn’t matter. If we have company (which tends to happen several times a month) or Mr. D is at home, Jack Bauer and I just go into my office and close the door. My biggest distraction is email, not other people.

Working at Home

Sarah took it one step further. She recommended three things:

  1. Have a separate office with a door (I agree – the door is huge).
  2. Invest in some good headphones (I agree – my Bose noise canceling headphones aren’t only great for the plane, but they’re fantastic when other people are around).
  3. Have snacks (I disagree for two reasons – one, if I had snacks anywhere in my office, Jack Bauer could get to them and two, I’m a big advocate of getting up and away from your desk every couple of hours of so, which going to the kitchen for a snack allows you to do).

Because of the two reasons I listed about snacks, I’d replace it with water. I have a 32 ounce bottle that I fill with water and I have to refill it at least once – sometimes twice – a day. But I don’t have to get up and get more water every hour.

Those aren’t the only reasons working from home might be better than in an office.

Getting Things Done

Jennifer Gosse, the chief marketing officer at Tracky, chimed in with an interesting study about how many times we’re interrupted when we work in an open door (or cubicle) environment.

In the few minutes it takes to read this article, chances are you’ll pause to check your phone, answer a text, switch to your desktop to read an email from the boss’s assistant, or glance at the Facebook or Twitter messages popping up in the corner of your screen. Off-screen, in your open-plan office, crosstalk about a colleague’s preschooler might lure you away, or a co-worker may stop by your desk for a quick question.

Office workers are interrupted—or self-interrupt—roughly every three minutes, academic studies have found, with numerous distractions coming in both digital and human forms. Once thrown off track, it can take some 23 minutes for a worker to return to the original task, says Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, who studies digital distraction.

We are interrupted every three minutes (sometimes by ourselves by checking email, social networks, text messages) and you wonder why it’s so hard to get things done?!

Books are written about how to get things done. Michael Schechter spent an entire month on Getting Big Things Done.

Focus and Expectations

The experts all say it comes down to focus.

How do you get focus? Have a door, invest in some headphones, make sure you have snacks (and/or water), and turn off the distractions.

In an office environment, it’s hard to turn off the people distractions, but I’d venture to guess your boss and your colleagues will respect your work time if it’s signalled by your wearing headphones.

And, at home, make it clear to any of the people in your home you are not to be interrupted if the door is closed or you’re wearing headphones.

For you, it’s about focus. For them, it’s about expectations.

What about you? Are you able to get more done when you work at home or in the office?

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I will say not everyone has the ability to work from home effectively, though that is certainly where knowledge work is headed. I work better at home for sure; you can ignore digital interruptions a lot more easily than you can in-person interruptions.
    To wit, I couldn’t agree more about open doors — and sometimes even closed doors. When I opened a retail store back in 2007, I had an office in the store. I was being interrupted so much even when my door was closed that I took the grand opening ribbon and tied it into a bow. It is called “The Ribbon of Peace” and if it’s on the door that means no interruptions. The ribbon is still there to this day — and still works. 🙂

    • @Adam | Customer Experience It’s kind of like the sock on your college dorm room door…

      • @ginidietrich Now, now Gini… I come here for the family-friendly atmosphere

        • @Adam | Customer Experience LOL! I crack myself up!

        • @ginidietrich Well, you crack the rest of us up too — but probably for different reasons!

        • @Adam | Customer Experience Yeah…I’m cool with you all thinking I’m nuts. I still love you. And I love the idea of The Ribbon of Peace.

        • belllindsay

          @Adam | Customer Experience  @ginidietrich BAHAHA! As IF Gini ever experienced “the sock”!

        • @belllindsay  @Adam | Customer Experience I didn’t. It’s true. But I lived in a coed dorm. Most of the boys used that “sign.”

      • @ginidietrich  @Adam | Customer Experience We used a rubber band around the water fountain — so no one else knew our system. Ha!

      • @ginidietrich  @Adam | Customer Experience Sock? Tie.

  • bobbiklein

    I am definitely able to get more done when I work at home. When I work on campus, people are always stopping by, and my days are full of meetings. I work at home about 70-80% of the time and at Butler University the rest. Headphones are key to getting things done. It cuts out the other distractions around you. And on campus if someone has headphones in, it’s a synonym for busy and please don’t bother me.

    • @bobbiklein I tink it’s become a synonym for just that in any environment. I wear mine on the plane every flight and whomever is sitting next to me knows not to bother me. I’m working! Isn’t it funny that we all have the same issues with in-person distractions, but they continue to happen?

      • bobbiklein

        @ginidietrich I agree. Maybe if everyone took a better approach about how to handle the distractions, whether is is headphones, door closed, etc., people would take note.

  • I know we’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth repeating. When I first started working remotely back in ’07, it was largely untested territory for the company I was with, but I was one of the highest-performing account managers on my team, so any fears about me slacking off were assuaged. Had I not been successful on-site, there’s no way that they would have approved me working off-site full time.
    Early on, I needed the routine of getting up and getting dressed to put myself in the frame of mind to ‘work’. I’ve loosened up with that a lot, and my managers know that, no matter where I am, I’m accessible and meet deadlines. I’m a big believer in workshifting, as justinlevy  agree, and it makes me *more* productive than before. I can work from a train, from a coffeeshop, or from my back porch (especially when it’s nice out and I have a hankerin’ for a good cigar ;)).
    The biggest adjustment for me was conference calls when most of the people were in the same room. They tend to forget about those dialed in.

    • @jasonkonopinski  I’ve tried the getting up and getting dressed thing, but found it makes zero difference on my productivity. What does, though, is whether or not I’m able to ride my bike in the middle of the day, to break things up and clear my head. I’ve never been a lunch taker (wasn’t part of the FH culture at the start of my career so never got in the habit), so I can afford to take the lunch hour to ride. It’s HUGE for focus and getting things done.
      Do you see a difference now, as compared to 2007, with working from home and the conference call issue?

    • belllindsay

      @jasonkonopinski  justinlevy That’s a great point Justin, the conference call thing. But again, I think it’s a matter of evolution. As more and more companies adopt this way of working, it will become the ‘new normal’ and those remote callers will feel less invisible.

      • @belllindsay  Who the heck is Justin?

        • @jasonkonopinski  @belllindsay LMAO!!

        • belllindsay

          @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski HAHAHAHAHA! Ooopsies! I saw Justin Levy’s name up there when I was commenting!

  • belllindsay

    Great thoughts here Gini. I’ve had the best (worst?) of both worlds – having spent 20 odd years trapped in a veal pen when I worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Want distractions? Try being in an open-layout office design in a newsroom (really tough for a news junkie like myself) or where a daily TV program is being produced. Holy hannah.
    I love working from home. Now, as you well know, I am the laziest person on the planet. But surprisingly, when I transitioned from work to home I found myself 100% more productive than I have ever been before. This was partly due to all the distractions you mentioned above that I no longer had to deal with. But also because of ease. I still get up at 6:00 am or earlier, but now, instead of ‘shower/dress/subway downtown’ – I’m able to hop right onto my computer and start working. I schedule breaks during the day, but for the hours I am head down, I am REALLY head down. Plus, if need be, I can also check in during the evening to deal with anything that has slipped through the cracks, or any emergencies that pop up. Also, there’s the stress factor – or  lack thereof. Being a mom, I’m not wasting time worrying about my son. If I have to grab him from school I’m there and back in 10 minutes, and back on the job, instead of losing a half days work (which is what would happen when I worked downtown). 
    I wish more companies could see the benefits and cost savings that they could reap if they allowed more flexible work-from-home opportunities for their staff. Honestly? If someone offered me a massive amount of money to go back to an office right now? I wouldn’t take it. I wouldn’t give this up for the world.

    • @belllindsay Two things: When I asked last year if you each thought we should get office space, there was dead silence. It was kind of funny. Then you each went out on the limb and said, “No freaking way!” But the dead silence was huge for me…it’s interesting to hear how valuable working at home is for everyone.
      The other thing is that I don’t think you’re the laziest person on the planet. You’re a hard worker, you do more than you’re asked to do, and you’re extremely proactive in finding new and interesting ways of doing things.

      • belllindsay

        @ginidietrich Oh heavens! I’m not lazy when it comes to work! No way – if anything (much to the chagrin of my husband and son) I rarely shut down – helloooo, working from the bar last Friday night!? LOL But in the grand scheme of things – I’m lazy. I love my couch. I don’t cook. And I have to really motivate myself to exercise, etc..

        • @belllindsay Aren’t we all, though? There are some Sundays I don’t leave my couch and order pizza because I’m too lazy to go upstairs and turn on the oven.

        • belllindsay

          @ginidietrich My kinda gal. 😉

        • Lara Wellman

          @belllindsay  @ginidietrich I don’t think we are all like that, but I know I am and it’s great to hear about others who are too 🙂

        • @ginidietrich  @belllindsay The weekend Fire Dept crew lets out a collective ‘Wahooooo’ when you do that too Gini.

        • @Lara Wellman  @belllindsay Heck, I only wash my hair twice a week so I don’t have to dry it more than that.

  • I’ve been both sides of the office door (heh!) recently, as you know. Like @Adam | Customer Experience said, working from home isn’t for everyone, because not everyone is able to focus the way they should, because they haven’t created a work atmosphere/environment for themselves. When I was working in an office last year, it amazed me how many of my colleagues would NOT work from home, even though the company itself was very flexible. Many of them liked the separation of “work” and “home,” opting to stay as late at the office as they needed to, even though they could technically have done anything they needed to from home.
    Me – I am much more productive working from home. It’s interesting, just yesterday I noticed how I myself can create so many distractions as you and Adam say… and they’re all digital. I was in the middle of writing a blog post, and found that every few minutes, I’d go check Facebook, or some other tab that was open. Certainly, there is client stuff going on that I need to keep abreast of, but it’s also not stuff that couldn’t wait a few minutes.
    That said, there is certainly a benefit to being among others (like not being ignored on conference calls, as @jasonkonopinksi said). However, I’m not one of those people who needs that energy on a day-to-day basis… once in a while is ok for me!

    • @Shonali  I was invited to an event last night (which I’ll write about later) and I really did not want to go. It’s cold outside and I was warm in my house and I had some things left to do on my task list that could wait for today, but would have made me less stressed if I’d gotten them done last night. I was whining about it to allenmireles and she said, “We all need to get out sometimes.” So I went and I’m glad I did! 
      I’m like you – I don’t need the in-person energy every, single day, but it’s good for a midweek burst of brainstorming and, heck, just conversation.

      • @ginidietrich  @Shonali  allenmireles I need the in-person energy. For me, the working alone part sucks and I get even less done. Sigh. cc: jasonkonopinski belllindsay

  • This was a bit of a timely post for me @ginidietrich . I’m juggling around 50-50 right now, and I’m trying so very hard but the ‘at home’ is still proving to be harder. Here is why for me: the self-interrupt. When I’m attempting to work from home, There are soooo many things I could be doing around the house, and I get sucked in: laundry, DVR catch-up, dishes, make my bed, hang something, .etc. When I’m in an office, I can think about those things, but I can’t do them. So FOR ME office: think about distractions at home, but can’t do them. Still have on-screen distractions (FB, email, Twitter). 
    Any tips on how to break that cycle belllindsay , jasonkonopinski ?

    • belllindsay

      @ryancox  @ginidietrich  jasonkonopinski Funny Ryan, but that stuff is very easy for me to filter out. I have friends who say “Oh man, if I worked from home I would be on the couch watching TV all the time” – but that doesn’t happen for me. Having a dedicated office (with a door!) helps. But also, as I wrote in my comment below, you *can* dip in and out of “house’y” stuff – as long as you don’t get wrapped up in it – I often get dinner started or run laundry during one of my breaks. But that’s the extent of it – then it’s back to the computer. Also, we all have goals  to meet – the bottom line is, if you’re available and getting your day to day work done and meeting all your goals, heading out to grab groceries or whatever shouldn’t be an issue.

      • @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  jasonkonopinski I guess that is a good point — the same with office distractions. If you’re still getting all of your work done and meeting your goals, the type of distraction (and where it is) shouldn’t matter.
        Here is the thing for me though that is the bigger deal: people. I’m such a people person. Seeing/being around people *in person*.

    • @ryancox  @ginidietrich  @belllindsay Sometimes it pays to listen to those distractions, because they’re telling you something about priorities and what you’re avoiding. 
      Exercise is my mid-day brain break. I sweat myself into a puddle of goo and feel reset and reenergized to finish the task list.

      • @jasonkonopinski  @ryancox  @belllindsay But…I’m with Lindsay. I used to do laundry on the weekends, but now I do it on Mondays. I do all of my staff and client meetings on Mondays so it’s really easy to throw a load into the washer and fold clothes while I”m on the phone with one of them. They don’t know I’m doing it, it gets done without interrupting my weekend, and it doesn’t interrupt my work because I’m on and off the phone every hour that day anyway.

        • @ginidietrich  @ryancox  @belllindsay I’ve taken plenty of calls when I’m walking the dog, or folding laundry.

        • @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski  @belllindsay So then my theory Gini could be choreography the next Gagnam style video *COULD* still be true.

        • @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski  @ryancox  @belllindsay  I’m going to ask if you are folding the delicate unmentionables during our next one-to-one, lol

        • @allenmireles  @ginidietrich  @ryancox  @belllindsay <biting tongue>

      • @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich  @belllindsay I like that idea of the mid-day break Jason. I go back to my comment above, because all of your three seem just as people-in-person-dependent as me. So how do you get by that hurdle?

        • @ryancox  @jasonkonopinski  @belllindsay I’m an introvert. I don’t need to be around people. Most days I prefer not to be around people. And I travel enough that I get the “in person” needs I do have satisfied.

        • @ryancox  @ginidietrich  @belllindsay There are times when I crave the conversation, but it’s not an everyday need. Like Gini said, it’s good for a midweek brainstorming session. 
          It always surprises people when I self-identify as an introvert. I’m pretty gregarious by nature.

        • belllindsay

          @ginidietrich  @ryancox  @jasonkonopinski “all of your three seem just as people-in-person-dependent as me” – hahaha! Nope! I rarely leave the house, as many of my friends can attest to! I’m an introvert also.

        • @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski lol so I’m in odd man out extrovert. I need an “Extroverts guide to working from home.” All of you self-identify as introverted. lol

        • @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski and for the record, I’m shocked that all of you are introverts.

        • @ginidietrich  @ryancox  @jasonkonopinski  @belllindsay When Gini starts talking about her “in person needs” it’s time to change the conversation

        • HeidiMassey

          @ryancox  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski NOW you are entering one of my most very favorite topics–introverts and extroverts. I LOVE this definition: How you charge your battery at the end of the day….you can be outgoing or shy. That’s different that being introverted or extroverted. Ryan, I am a total extrovert. As far to the end of that continuum as I can possibly be. And I am absolutely giddy and joyful to be working at home. Especially in these freezing temps. But it does mean that I need to be mindful about scheduling time with people. I need to be conscious about including fun and meetings and time out and about. It’s definitely easier with social media as well. I don’t feel isolated. Someone is always available. But if I go too long, I definitely start to suffer. I also find that as I have gotten older, I am able to be alone more than I used to be. I still prefer people, but being alone doesn’t deplete me as much as it used to.

    • @ryancox  @ginidietrich  belllindsay  jasonkonopinski Have you tried Pomodoro? ( Basically, you set a timer for 25 minutes and commit to stay focused just for that amount of time; I’ve also read, if you can only do 10 then start with 10. When the timer goes, you take a break. Then you do another block of time.
      I’ve also found that mapping out my day ahead of time helps; just having a list to go back to when my mind starts to wander has made a difference. I’m excited because I’m in the process of setting things up with an accountability buddy – someone I’ll share my plans with and check in with regularly, just to make sure I’m not letting myself off the hook!

  • I work in an open environment and it can be really distracting. Headphones do work, but not every work place allows headphones. I do a lot of work on my mobile (more than I should) and am much more focused. Working from home is impossible when my kids are around though. I think if I had a separate office there it would be totally doable. My husband works from home and is so much more productive when he is in his studio with the door closed.

    • @katskrieger I often wonder if having kids around will change my ability to work from home. I *hope* I’ll be able to manage it by being in my office with the door closed, but you never know…

  • The thing I miss the most about not being in an office, is the early morning banter around the coffee machine as people got to work. Now I have to talk to my kids, or Shadow. Or you guys.

    • @KenMueller “Have to talk to my kids” – PRICELESS. This morning the little one was up with me at 5am. We talked while she went through my wallet and make-up bag.

      • @katskrieger  Does she use the makeup too??

        • @ginidietrich She tries. But the 4-yr-old definitely does. You gain new respect for the stay-put factor of lipstick and mascara when you are trying to remove it from the entirety of a kid’s face.

      • @katskrieger Just remember my kids range from almost 18 to 23. They aren’t as “perky” as little kids. I’m lucky if I get a “good morning”.  Shadow, on the other hand, is always happy to see me. As is @ginidietrich .

        • @KenMueller  @katskrieger Not true.

        • @ginidietrich  @katskrieger Don’t make me repeat what you told me yesterday….I can open Skype and get a screen shot.

    • @KenMueller I’m headed over to the dictionary to see if your picture is still next to “fun” this morning.

      • @ginidietrich oh, it is. and those other words.

        • @KenMueller Nope. I looked. It’s not there.

        • @ginidietrich I think you need to look more closely….hold on.

        • @ginidietrich go check your email

        • belllindsay

          @KenMueller  @ginidietrich fastidious, fervent, fresh, feisty, frippery?

  • I’ve done both, and I far prefer working at home (it’s easier that my wife is a teacher and she and the kids are gone for a good part of the day). I prefer to work independently, in pro-active rather then re-active mode. Offices can breed interrupt-driven work schedules (or non-schedules). Part of this is because of where I am on this continuum (my new blog post today – timely tie-in!

    • @SteveWoodruff Whoa…great minds!

    • @SteveWoodruff Hi Steve! 🙂

    • belllindsay

      @SteveWoodruff “pro-active rather then re-active” – I love that. You’ve hit the nail on the head. 🙂

  • You people that like to work from home clearly do not have three boys under age 12.

    • @Sean McGinnis Hey, I’ve worked from home for five years. When I started, my kids were 12, 16, and 18. And homeschooled. All of us home all day everyday.

      • belllindsay

        @KenMueller  @Sean McGinnis Good god. Kill me now.

    • @Sean McGinnis YOU work from home!

      • @ginidietrich I think maybe you missed my qualifier:
        “You people that LIKE to work from home…”
        I hate it.

    • @Sean McGinnis Hmm. I have a 11 yr old boy in addition to a 8 & 11 yr old daughter. I try to get as much done by 3 pm as possible and threaten them with their lives after that! You have a Xbox…use it to your advantage, like a bribe! 😉

      • @sydcon_mktg For that strategy to be successful, I’d have to buy TWO MORE X-boxes, since that’s usually what they’re fighting over. Then, if I did that they would just fight over the games.
        Cheaper to get an office. LOL!

        • @Sean McGinnis Or just spring for a family xbox live account where they can play on line with their friends. For me Connor had “Friends over” without the mess, noise or smell of sweaty boys! And, it keeps him from fighting with is sisters!

  • rdopping

    Isolation is huge.
    By nature of my job I am in the office more that I am not. I manage a team and have to be available to our clients and to my team for a variety of things which means that when i have heads-down work i have to do it when everyone is gone or at home. I often hole up in a meeting room for a few hours here are there with the door closed. That seems to work. Isolation is the only way I can get any work done.
    I stay at home a couple of times a month when I am behind but I find the interruptions (phone calls, emails, etc) are somehow exacerbated. Weird.

    • @rdopping This, exactly, is the point of the Wall Street Journal article. It’s impossible for us to get work done at, well, work and you just demonstrated exactly why. It kind of sucks you have to hold away for a few hours to get anything accomplished. How much stress do you think that adds to your day?

      • rdopping

        @ginidietrich There you go! I suppose I should read it. Does it add stress? Um, only when I have a hard time meeting an agreed timeline. Not always because I can plan for it. It’s kinda like SOP at this point.

        • @rdopping  You let me know if I ever need to send some Chicago muscle to break some legs.

        • rdopping

          @ginidietrich Oh dear. Tough guy talk. I willtake that under advisement. Hey, I see this as a product of the shift to a mobile workforce for which I have done a ton of research. Maybe a GP on the subject is a possibility?

        • @rdopping  YES!!

  • JoeCascio

    I much, much prefer working at home, too, but it’s tough to make generalizations about it. It depends on the kind of work you do at least as much as what your particular temperament or home situation is. Smart management lets people work where they feel they’re most productive, consistent with the nature of the work. Requiring people to be in an office when the work doesn’t require it indicates to me that management is more concerned with itself than getting the work done.

    • @JoeCascio The whole idea that you have to be in an office setting so management can see you is ridiculous. That said, because of the way i was “raised” in corporate life, I had a really hard time with it at first. So we took baby steps. I watched productivity like a hawk and I soon realized people were MUCH more productive when they were at home. Now it’s a benefit of working here.

  • I’ve worked from home for more than 20 years and some of that time with small kids underfoot. My experience with the kids was that it was nearly impossible to focus with a toddler underfoot and so we relied on a babysitter and then after school care to free up a chunk of time for client calls and out of the office meetings.Now, with both kids grown, the biggest distractions are from the younger son’s cat (who is more consistently than any cat I have EVER met) always on the wrong side of the door crying to be on the other side and the elderly dog who must be let out over and over and over again during the day so she won’t have multiple accidents. So entertaining. I love working from home. I can focus and get so much more work done. When I feel too isolated I ping poor @belllindsay on Skype. Or @ginidietrich . That helps kick me back into gear. Especially when I try to keep up with Gini’s pace (which is basically impossible).

    • @allenmireles  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich You never Skype me. I haz The Sad.

      • @jasonkonopinski  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich We can fix that

        • @allenmireles  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich Yes. Let’s.

        • belllindsay

          @jasonkonopinski  @allenmireles  @ginidietrich Jason likes it even more if you’re tipsy. #notthatIhavedonethat

    • @allenmireles  I do wonder if we’ll have to get office space if/when we have kids. I’m hoping, with a nanny, we’re able to manage it because my office is upstairs and away from the living areas. Hopefully so.

  • John_Trader1

    My employer won’t allow me to work from home, instead they subject me to an office environment where anyone can walk up to me at anytime and interrupt what I am doing, including research. writing copy. pitching a reporter, etc. I have pleaded with them to let me work from home but their philosophy is that employees who work from home can’t be a part of the “team” environment they are trying to create. I think it’s horse poop.
    One thing I would mention about this comment — “In an office environment, it’s hard to turn off the people distractions, but I’d venture to guess your boss and your colleagues will respect your work time if it’s signaled by your wearing headphones.” I would disagree with this to a degree because I have seen firsthand that when you wear headphones, it can be misinterpreted as being “unapproachable” and not a “team player.” I think that’s horse poop too but I have seen it in three office environments I have worked in.
    Sorry, a lot of horse poop flying around for me today.

    • @John_Trader1 Their philosophy that employees that work from home aren’t part of the team environment is some serious horse poop! 😉 My company, outspective , is proof. We’ve got team members in Orlando, Asheville, Las Vegas, and San Diego, and we all meet on Google Hangout at the same time each day, as well as gchat throughout the day. I’ve never felt more a part of a team than I do with these guys. Probably because if they have any annoying habits or ticks, I don’t know about them!You should have your bosses jump on a hangout with us one day. We’ll let them know what’s up. 🙂

      • John_Trader1

        @brittanybotti  outspective Thanks for the inspiration Brittany! I should subject them to one of your hangouts just to prove a point.

      • @brittanybotti  @John_Trader1  Along these same lines, the oDesk blog (client) published this piece about connecting teams through always-on tech: 
        One idea I love came from LaunchBit, where people use Facetime to connect during the day. I really appreciate face-to-face, but I think a lot of team dynamics come from mindset more than simply sharing space.

      • micahc29

        @brittanybotti  @John_Trader1  outspective Part of me thinks you’re right, and the other part of me is in wholehearted agreement! We have remote days at my work and I really feel like it stimulates the creative process.

    • @John_Trader1 That’s ridiculous that people see it as unapproachable. We ALL have to get work done. Why is it so hard to say, “Hey, can we have a signal that says ‘I’m working’ without distraction” and have everyone respect that?
      We do the same that @brittanybotti mentions. We don’t Skype every day, but do at least twice a week (and are about to add a third for wine:thirty) and we’re all on Skype instant messaging all day. I’d venture I guess I talk to my team more now than I did when we all sat in an office together.

      • @ginidietrich  @John_Trader1 whoa whoa whoa. Wine:thirty? I’m gonna need to get in on that.

    • KateNolan

      @John_Trader1 You and I have the same struggle. Our office culture is one of “If you’re not there, you’re not working.” And headphones (which are tacitly verboten, but I use sometimes anyway) mean nothing, because if someone’s at my desk they _need_ an answer immediately, if only so they can mark it off their list of tasks.
      I’ve been lobbying to get a day (even half) out of the office each week in order to create an inbound/digital marketing plan, but I guess I’ll have to create one first to show the value. Chicken meet egg!

  • trainwithcts

    My distractions at home are not only the people and the pets, but home things that need to be done.  I often find myself saying, “let me just start this load of laundry and then I can work”  Three hours later, no work but clean clothes and probably the garbage is out, etc. etc.  You need to know yourself and as the article says it is all about focus!  By the way @allenmireles is an inspiration!

    • @trainwithcts  That’s so funny…that stuff never distracts me. Part of it is probably because I hate doing it and part of it is because I’m REALLY good at doing the house stuff on the weekends. That might be because I’m a workaholic, too.

  • I’m quickly approaching my first full year of working from home and it’s been a really interesting to think back on the past year and what I like / dislike about it.
    For the most part, I LOVE working from home. As others have mentioned, I love that I can get straight to my computer and work without the getting ready and driving part. I’m able to start working much earlier and I’ve found that’s when I’m the freshest. And yes, I am a lot more focused and get a whole bunch more done. For productivity, working at home rocks. 
    One of the things I’ve done in the past few weeks is to invest in my office to make it a better workspace. I’ve put up new Elfa shelving (YAY!) and plan to get a new desk. If you’re going to work from home, it makes sense to invest in having the right tools to make it a good place to work.
    Unlike a lot of the others here, I am more of an extrovert, so I really do miss the human interaction. Being a business owner AND working from home can be incredibly isolating. There are some days I’ll look up and realize I haven’t left the house in a day or two (except to walk the dog or go for a run). While that’s okay, I really need to be with and around people to feel energized. I don’t need it all of the time, but I do miss the ability to walk down the hall and ask a question or have a quick chat in the middle of the day. For me, it’s about balancing the need for people and the need to get work done. If I go too much in one direction, it really throws things off.
    The other thing about that door….I need to be better about closing it at the end of the day. The bad thing about working from home is that it’s way too easy to work all of the time. Boundaries are important.

    • @lauraclick  “The bad thing about working from home is that it’s way too easy to work all of the time. Boundaries are important.” Definitely agree!
      I’ve tried to get into the habit of turning my computer off at the end of the work day. This doesn’t save me from using my iPad, but it’s been an effective way to block those “I’m just going to check this one thing” moments that extend into an hour or two!

      • belllindsay

        @amysept  @lauraclick I agree completely. I had to laugh at the IPad comment Amy. I do so much work through my IPhone!! It’s crazy. See below where I mentioned being out with my husband for drinks last Friday night and I just kept working! hahaha I think that has a lot to do with personality, and how one thinks. When something pops into my head (as happened last Friday) I have to deal with it or I forget. I’m not incredibly organized in life.

        • @belllindsay  @lauraclick Ha! Yesterday while crossing the gym parking lot, I dictated an article into my iPhone because my brain finally kicked down writers block as I was parking the car. Boundaries = good, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

        • @amysept  @belllindsay The other night, I was crawling into bed and had a blog post idea, so I ran back to the computer to hammer it out before I lost it! One time, I even scribbled it on a notepad. Why do the best ideas come when I want to go to sleep?!

        • @belllindsay  @amysept So guilty of the “one more thing” syndrome. My husband now knows that when I say I’ll be there in a minute, it really means 20….or maybe an hour…or two. 😉

        • @belllindsay  @amysept  @lauraclick I do the same thing…my computer typically is completely shut down by 7 p.m. There are still things I’ll do on my iPad and iPhone, but once I crawl into bed, I turn my iPad in airplane mode so I can read without distraction (which puts me to sleep).

  • Lara Wellman

    I’ve been working from home for the last few years but where I’ve struggled is how to stay really connected with other people on the same projects.  Do you have regular skype meetings to replace the ability to have a quick meeting in the morning to make sure everyone is still on the same page?

    • belllindsay

      @Lara Wellman Lara, we have regular weekly 121’s where we each get an hour (at least) of uninterrupted Gini time (which is vital) and we have a group staff meeting via GoToMeetings every week also. Plus, skype is always open for instant messaging or quick calls. More than half the team live in Chicago, so they get to see Gini face to face also, which I’m jealous of! LOL We are all really good at being available, and when we’re not (doctor appointment or some such thing) we will email and let each other know.

      • PattiRoseKnight

        @belllindsay  @Lara Wellman We flew staff in this past December to have dinner and meet to discuss plans for 2013.  That was an awesome idea and I think really important to get us together in real life though brief.

      • @belllindsay  @Lara Wellman What Lindsay said, Lara. We “talk” in some form daily, but have the organized times so everyone gets my undivided attention. I still get pinged on instant messaging, but I’m REALLY good at ignoring it if I’m in the middle of something. I’ll just jot, “Need 30 minutes” quickly and everyone respects that.

  • I worked from home for nearly 4 years and like @belllindsay , found it depended what was going on. I agree on the door. When I worked in my dining room, despite everyone “respecting” that I was working from home, no one respected it and I was interrupted all the time. When we converted our extra bedroom into an office, it was much better.
    The funny part is, when I worked from home fulltime in the home office, all was good. The door could be open, even, and no one came in without permission, at least sticking their head in first to ask if they could ask me something. 
    But now that I work from home only occasionally, everyone forgets that I’m still really working. Things have been crazy since October, with the hurricane, a new puppy and my mother-in-law having to go out of the country for two months.  I worked from home for nearly a month due to an ever-changing set of circumstances over the holiday and post-holiday period, and it was much harder than it had been before.
    Perhaps part of it was my mindset, because I no longer was a work-at-home. But I was glad to get back to the office. 🙂

    • belllindsay

      @AmyVernon After hurricane and new puppy *I’d* be glad to get back to the office too! 😀

      • @belllindsay hahahahaha! And nevermind the flu! I worked from home for a few days with the puppy and the entire family down with the flu. Taking the train into Manhattan was a joy! 🙂

    • @AmyVernon  And they probably weren’t of the mindset any longer, either. Do you not work from home occasionally or are you able to get uninterrupted work done in the office?

      • @ginidietrich I actually do work from home time to time. Usually it’s fine. Just in the last few months, with tons of disruptions in our life between hurricane, holidays, deaths in the family, a puppy and a bout of the flu for everyone except for me, it has been a tough 3 months. 🙂

  • I love working from home but do miss interacting with people so I enjoy my meetings with my team whether they are in person, instant messaging, or on the phone.  My pup keeps me company and yes, when I’m lonely I do subject her to full on conversations so she probably thinks I’m crazy. When my husband is home, he doesn’t distract me, it’s actually nice because we take turns with taking care of our pup. When the kids come it will be interesting…
    I do laundry in between tasks and run to the store or an appointment if I need to but like @belllindsay said, we all have goals and if I don’t meet them well then I just feel like a shit! I don’t want to let my team down so that’s what keeps me motivated and on track. 
    I think a door is key not only when you need to hunker down and get some work done, but also when I’m done for the day, I close the door and don’t go back into my office unless I need to do work. It’s a good way to separate my work and home life.

    • @yvettepistorio  Truth be told, you’re the only one I worry about in this culture. I can tell when you’re having one of those “I need people” days. I’ve been thinking about how to fix that for you.

      • @ginidietrich I have a terrible poker face huh?! Lol!! Those are the days I go out for a drink after work 😉

  • I definitely get more work done when I’m home. It’s why I love my Saturdays. Since I’m still juggling a day job and my company, Saturday is the day when I am most focused on the company.
    The office environment can be difficult. I’m an introvert, so I don’t need to be around people all day long. I like visiting with people, but I suppose I like to do it on my own terms. I’m self-centered like that.

    • belllindsay

      @Erin F. Yay! Another introvert! 😀

      • @belllindsay We’re going to rule the world one of these days.

    • @Erin F. Like I always tell my team, someone else’s emergency doesn’t have to be theirs…it’s up to each of us to individually set our priorities. If something comes up that someone else needs, there has to be a conversation about how it can fit in your day. So yeah, we’re all self-centered like that.

      • @ginidietrich Your response makes me think of my mom’s saying: “Your emergency does not constitute a crisis on my part.” I’ve been known to use the saying a time or two.

  • I really appreciate the benefits of working from home, and not having to waste time commuting is pretty high on the list! Like so many others here, however, I miss the interaction and I’m really excited to see the growth of co-working spaces. There are none near me, unfortunately, but as more people work from home and telecommute, they’re becoming increasingly common!

    • @amysept Commuting is my biggest time waster. Although the actual train ride is only 20-ish minutes. I spend a good two hours planning work attire around, whether I wore it recently, how cold it is outside or if I have any meetings that day. That’s 2 hours I could have spent working while lying in the bed.

      • PattiRoseKnight

        @stevenmcoyle  @amysept I agree – now when I have to go downtown I think to myself – how did i do this for 30+ years?

        • @PattiRoseKnight  @stevenmcoyle Sometimes I miss it; before I went indie, I lived in a different city and made a point of living close enough to walk or bike to work. On beautiful sunny days, it was an amazing way to start the day. On days like today, when it’s -30, I miss that time just a little less!

        • @amysept  @PattiRoseKnight  @stevenmcoyle I ride my bike during lunchtime. I LOVE IT!

    • @amysept I wonder if there is an opportunity for you to create something like that virtually? We kind of do it by having Skype open all day, but that’s text, not video so we’re not seeing one another’s faces. But you could very well have working sessions where you keep video Skype open for an hour or two, while you each work, and brainstorm, joke, or just chat during that time.

      • @ginidietrich Not that I’ve seen – an ongoing G+ Hangout doesn’t really seem practical, either. But with the growth of remote teams, I hope the idea is on someone’s radar!

        • @ginidietrich Side note: Have you seen the telecommuting robot?

  • PattiRoseKnight

    I was one who resisted the remote work office at first but I think it works wonderful – for me anyway.  At first I would work until 10 pm but have finally found a happy medium and i make sure I break up the day.  I’ll head to the post office on my way to pick my son up from school.  He goes to school and works and the few minutes in the car interrupted on the way to dropping him of at the El is really special – he’s 18 and won’t be living with me forever.  I think if you are disciplined you can make working from home a real perk (no office rent) but the key is to get up and get moving throughout the day.

    • @PattiRoseKnight I wouldn’t say you resisted it. I just think it was so new for you, having worked in the typical corporate environment where you had to be at your desk, every day from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. every day. You used to wait until I left the office before you’d head out. While I loved that about you, it stressed me out that I was keeping you away from your life.

      • PattiRoseKnight

        @ginidietrich I could tell it stressed you out and eventually started leaving around 7 pm just to be sure you didn’t need anything.  Don’t forget I was raised at Edelman LOL!  It’s been a learning process for both of us but I think we have it pretty figured out now don’t you think?

  • JodiEchakowitz

    I’ve been working from a home office for 11+ years, and love it. It means that I get in at least 1 – 2 hours of additional productivity each day that would otherwise be spent commuting. I think the best move that I made was converting a bedroom into a true office vs. a makeshift one. We did this a couple of years ago, and I’m convinced that my productivity has improved since then. It was designed to look/feel like a traditional office with built in cabinetry, lots of storage, and an efficient flow based on my work habits. If anyone works from home and can do this, I would highly recommend it.
    While my hubby and kids know not to disturb me when my door is closed, I think the biggest distraction comes from other family who don’t really equate working from home as being ‘real’ work, and think that calling several times throughout the day is okay (despite me explaining that it’s not). And although I may not have other people to interact with in person during the day, calls with my team happen regularly and social networks have become my (virtual) water cooler.

    • @JodiEchakowitz I did the same thing as you – converted an extra bedroom into my office. It’s also upstairs and away from the living areas. I do allow myself to stay in bed on Friday mornings and work from there, but that’s my little luxury. I find I’m not nearly as productive, which is weird because I am using the same technology as I do at my desk.
      As for other family members? OMG. We have SO MUCH company all the time (we live in Chicago; it can’t be helped) so people will show up on Thursday night and stay until Sunday night or Monday. I do all my staff meetings on Mondays and, for those in Chicago, they come to my house for their hour with me. It drives me CRAZY when someone is still here and they keep coming into the living room to talk to us. Just because we’re meeting in my living room doesn’t mean we’re not working or it’s okay to interrupt us. It makes me nuts.

      • JodiEchakowitz

        @ginidietrich I don’t think I would cope very well with my house being like central station. I take my hat off to you! When I do meetings, I tend to make Starbucks my temporary office instead of having people come over to my house (as I’m in the suburbs, going to a Starbucks somewhere on a subway line is often easier for others).
        I love the idea of your Friday mornings. It’s something to look forward to each week. Because I have my kids to take care of in the morning, that’s unfortunately not an option for me. But I do take a little longer to get up when they’re at camp in the summer.

  • Sevans

    Gini – I like the idea about snacks. I’m going to start standing up when I eat them. 🙂

    • belllindsay

      @Sevans I have a makeshift standup desk. Literally – sturdy boxes on my real desk. It’s amazing!!!

      • @belllindsay  @Sevans I eat lunch standing up. I hate sitting all day. Seriously considering buying a standup desk.

    • @Sevans LOL! My other problem with snacks is I would eat them all if they were in my desk drawer. I never kept them in my office when we had office space, either. It forced me to go to the kitchen only when I was really hungry.

  • I split my time between  my home office and our office. Dave would prefer me at the actual office all the time, which isnt necessarry.  I like to think its because he loves my company and misses me terribly while I am not there, but the reality is he likes the feel of our growing staff and having us all there allows him to look around in pride and puff his chest! LOL!
    For me, my time is managed better at home. With 3 kids and a spoiled dog, a house I rotate tasks, which makes me get up and move around and doesnt saddle me with 9pm laundry or 6 bathroom cleanings (not a morning person).  I enjoy working in yoga pants and comfy sweaters or sweatshirts with the pup curled up by me as I work.  In the office I think I am more distracted by all the things I also have to do at home that I could cycle into my day if I were there.
    I use headphones, or even sometimes earplugs! I always have a drink, but steer clear of snacks cause I dont want the extra calories!

    • @sydcon_mktg I’m going to admit something that may piss you off (and other readers here). Several years ago, I put my foot down and told Mr. D if I was going to work full-time (and be the breadwinner), I needed help with the house. So we have a cleaning lady. The only thing she does not do is laundry (though I’m still gunning for that). I refuse to clean toilets at 6 a.m. and do laundry at 9 p.m. She’s a HUGE help to me. And what we pay her is less than what a client pays me for an hour of my time so the ROI is much better for me to spend the time working instead.

      • @ginidietrich No, it totally doesnt piss me off at all. We have been mulling that over here. The kids are old enough they have to pitch in, but still its never ending. I keep telling Dave I need a Alice ala Brady Bunch -except I will be busy working! LOL!

        • @sydcon_mktg It’s not very expensive. I recommend it. I used to feel guilty that she cleans while I’m here, but then I realized I’m doing my job and she’s doing hers.

        • @ginidietrich Exactly! I think we put it off for so long when we were in the early stages of the business to cut expenses, now we really have no excuse, except for it being my fault for spoiling them!

        • @sydcon_mktg LOL!!

  • Im very lucky to work at a company that allows you to work at home but also provides an office space if you choose to exercise that option. I split my time between the two and it really comes down to my schedule. I like being at home because I tend to ‘get to work’ earlier in the morning and then go grocery shopping in the early afternoon before the rush. Before I had a second bedroom which I converted into an office, my distractions were limitless. I checked the tv, got snacks, walked around, went outside, etc. I just couldnt sit still at my computer while I was at home. I dont have a door on my current office, but just being there out of sight of everything else is helpful. I also dont use my home office for anything other than work so that helps me get into that mindset too. For me, the distractions at home and at work are about the same just based on the way our office is built – no cubicles or ‘open’ space (we all have mini offices).

    • @C_Pappas When we had the office, there were days I’d stay home to get things done or because I needed to recharge and just couldn’t face being around people. It was nice to have the best of both worlds.

  • Depends. Are my kids home?
    If they aren’t home, I think I get more work done because I can start earlier in the day (by avoiding commute) and I feel more relaxed, and not just because I’m likely wearing pajama pants. 
    I love my colleagues. But sitting in the peace and quiet of my home is very conducive to getting work done, and I’m lucky to work for a company that allows it when I need it.

    • @bradmarley And, really, working in your PJs kind of rocks. I’m notorious for closing a new client and shouting, “I just closed a new client in my cycling clothes!”

  • I work from home, go into a client’s office twice a week, and work from a coworking space when I feel the need to mingle. We recently created house rules for the coworking space – and “no interrupting anyone with headphones” was first on the list. Boom! 
    I find that this is a good balance for me. Even though I don’t necessarily need the conversations extroverts seem to love in an office environment (introvert here!), it’s good to get away from the puppy every so often (as I look down to find her gnawing one of my heels…)

    • @itsjessicann Boom! LOL!! The puppy thing is funny. Because Jack Bauer and I spend so much time together, he has serious separation anxiety when I’m not home. So you’re creating peace of mind for her, too!

      • Keena Lykins

        @ginidietrich  @itsjessicann OMG, my puppy is so used to me being around all the time, she gets wigged out if I change my schedule, i.e. work in the kitchen rather then desk or use the treadmill desk in the morning rather than the afternoon. Maybe we need a puppies-at-home support group.

  • Keena Lykins

    @ginidietrich  You knew I’d weigh on this subject.
    As a writer, working from home is the only way I can truly get good work done. My productivity doubles, the quality of my work is better and I am a much happier person when I can avoid a commute, work in my pajama pants and break up desk time with all those chores that I never feel like doing at 10 p.m.  Best of all, it’s environmentally friendly.
    I believe face-to-face meetings are important for teamwork and client interaction, but those can be scheduled and managed without the need to be in the office on a daily basis. I also find virtual meeting space, i.e. Go to Meeting, can be quite productive.
    That said, I am an introvert, so being in an office is incredibly taxing for me. I can understand why extroverts would prefer to work in the office.
    As for focus, I grew up in a newsroom. I learned how to focus through noise and distractions. When I’m in the zone,  I wouldn’t notice the party downstairs until glass shatters and the wail of police sirens fill the air.

    • @Keena Lykins I’m not the same level of writer as you, but I do create content every day. I cannot be interrupted when I write. I used to do all my writing from home and then go into the office around 9:00. That would create all sorts of other issues – “why do I have to be here at 8:30 when the CEO isn’t?” (uh…because you leave at 5:30 and the CEO doesn’t) so I’m happy to have my work space at home now.

  • Nate Towne

    I find I work more/longer hours when I work from home – likely because of the guilt I feel for not coming into the office, but also because instead of spending 2 hours commuting to and from the office, I can use that time to work instead.

    • @Nate Towne Exactly! It’s for that very reason that I stopped feeling guilty about riding my bike at lunchtime. Now I can work in the early morning hours (instead of ride) and still get my exercise in. I much prefer it.

  • I’ve been mentioned in a Spin Sucks post. My life is complete. 
    I agree. I managed to get nearly 3 times more done when I work at home. There’s something about being in your own space that allows you to really dive deep in work. Let me pass this along to my Director.

    • @stevenmcoyle Bwahahaha! You’re famous for about 1/16 of a second!

  • mcahalane

    I’m totally more efficient now at home than the office. The office is loud, cold, and there’s always a question or a meeting to distract me. At home, I’m as effective as my focus allows. It really does come down to that!

    • @mcahalane I think so, too. It’s all about focus, which you can’t really control in the office. Unfortunately.

  • I am so terrible at working at home. Now I am not working and I am just focusing on college. Even then I go to the college library to get my work done. Because somehow I am better able to focus in the peace and quiet there! Also, when I am doing my freelance work, I go the college library.

    • @Hajra  I was the opposite in college. I had to be in my room to work, somehow the library would always turn into a distraction.

      • @stevenmcoyle I was like that during my Bachelors. Just had to lock up myself in my room to study.

    • @Hajra  That’s so funny… I wonder why that is?

  • I would love to work from home…that is not an option where I currently work – he has had marketing people in the past who did not get work done so he wants me physically here so that he can tell that I’m working…

    • Keena Lykins

      @aimeelwest I’ve had bosses who had this same philosophy and it always confounded me. Do you really want employees whom you have to babysit? It’s obvious whether or not someone gets the work done. If they don’t do the work, then why does it matter where they are? Get rid of them. At least that’s how I’ve always looked at it.

      • @Keena Lykins I know just what you mean…

      • @Keena Lykins  @aimeelwest EXACTLY! What Keena said.

    • @aimeelwest That’s frustrating. He’s focused on the wrong things. I wouldn’t do well in that environment.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    I also don’t turn my computer on during the weekends.  I’ll check my email on the iPad a couple of times a day but if the computer is on I have access to my files and then before you know it I’m working.  It’s taken me awhile but I’ve finally find the balance to get the most out of working remotely.

    • @PattiRoseKnight You also do a really good job of staying off the social networks on the weekends and spending time with your kids or your friends. I could learn a thing or two about that from you.

      • PattiRoseKnight

        @ginidietrich but you know how long it took me to do that!  you’ll get there…baby steps.  I really do try to have a life on the weekends but it wasn’t always like that.  I love that you have created a culture that encourages a healthy life balance.  And you had me forever when I heard about wine:thirty 🙂

  • We are in the process of going completely virtual! (hands clapping) we found that with our business model, our team is now spread out across the country and out of the country. It makes sense for us. 
    I do tend to get more done in my home office, and am more focused. If we hadn’t had office space, I would have always wondered…..should we, would it make us more productive, etc. 
    I’m a huge supporter of virtual offices!

    • @janbeery You are?! YAY!! I knew you were thinking about doing it. There are so many other benefits you’ll see about six months from now. Then you’ll call me and say, “Why didn’t you MAKE me do this?”

      • @ginidietrich I can’t wait! We’re gonna have to do lunch!

  • Culture_Content

    I am lucky to get to use an office at JAM a few days per week, which allows me to get to interact with people whom I do business with. That being said, I rely heavily on doing business from home the rest of the time. Being an extrovert, I am EASILY distracted! It’s a lot easier for me to hunker down in my home office environment….especially when it’s snowing and cold outside! Love the facts in this piece. Thanks @ginidietrich !

    • @Culture_Content You’re an extrovert? I had no idea! LOL!!

      • Culture_Content

        @ginidietrich I’ve had to ground myself recently to get some writing done!!!

  • I don’t have kids or pets to distract me, just my own procrastination devices and I can assure you, even with the evils of the Interwebs to tempt me, I get SO much done at home. Yes I miss the conversation, the energy of an office and other people – and @ginidietrich I too have to force myself out sometimes – but hey, that’s what social is for right?
    All the interruptions and breaks always drove me nuts when I was in an office, never you mind at an agency billing every 15 minutes. And that feeling of ‘hurry up and wait’ as I’ve done my to-dos for the week, can’t proceed until others do their part – then forced to ‘ride the clock’ b/c no, the bosses didn’t get that I’m done so I’m stuck waiting? then having to fight traffic?! No thanks. 
    It’s no secret I’m a multitasking advocate; if I’m at home working, odds are the dishwasher or laundry is going, I’ve got my appt. times conveniently booked, etc. etc. If I can get 2 things done at once, I do. Do it right – w/ doors and boundaries and rules –  so much you can do AND still get work done at home.  With the added bonus of ‘extra’ time b/c all those things that would have piled up for the evening or weekend, they’re already crossed off the list. 
    And FWIW, bummed I missed @Sevans chat yesterday; maybe next time.

    • @3HatsComm  OMG! The point you make about waiting for others is EXCELLENT! I wish I’d included that in my blog post. Now you can “leave” work at 2 p.m. if you’re finished. Nothing wrong with that!

  • I like your no snacks rule at your desk. It’s the same principle that I use for water. I use a coffee mug instead of water bottle, and that forces me to get up from my monitor about once an hour to take a short break.

    • @polleydan I also would eat all of the snacks if they were right here. With them all the way downstairs in the kitchen, I have to be REALLY hungry to go down there.

  • I’ve been virtual since 2003. I did it when I was pregnant thinking I’d go back to an office when my son started daycare or school. He’s now in 3rd grade and I still work from home. Like the others, I converted a third bedroom into my office so it helps to have that door to close. And not keep people out (my son knows when I’m working and he gives me my time) BUT to keep me out! Some days I just wander into the office to do ‘one thing’ and realize I’ve been in there for 2 hours.Those are the days I feel a bit guilty that I should be with my son instead of working.
    I’m always amazed when people ask if I get distracted and wanting to do housework. No, not a problem at all. The biggest distractions are social media, checking emails and texts. I stopped answering the phone and check my messages at certain times a day. Just this month I started doing a work routine to help me stay focused. Some days its been working and other days, it’s like what routine.
    Mostly I like working from home but I miss being around people so some days I go out to someplace like Panera to work, just to be away from my desk.

    • @penneyfox What’s the work routine your’e doing?

      • @ginidietrich I did a bit of research to see what other business owners do and then pulled the parts that I liked to create my routine. I basically break down my day into 30 – 60 minute chunks of time. I pull together my schedule on Sun nights based on what I have to work on that week for my clients and the updates (FB, twitter, blogging, etc) for my company.
        During these time chunks, I won’t check email (unless emails are part of the designated project), answer calls or go on social networks. I check emails first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and at the end of the day. Emails and social media are my biggest distractions so I’m working on ways to control the time so I don’t wander off somewhere reading an article or checking FB.
        My goal was to keep my focus on what I’m doing. It’s been working until this week when I had an unexpected project drop into my lap and I was on a quick deadline. I had to move the routine around so I could get the project done and honestly, I can feel that this week was not as productive as I have been the last few weeks.

  • HowieG

    When I lived alone and worked from home I got 4x as much done as I did when I would be in an office. Too many people wanting to talk bs with me vs working. So I agree with you @ginidietrich  if the right home set up is there. Say a separate room as an office. A spouse or partner  who is away working or you live alone. No kids to deal with. No cat asking in and out all the time. I lack all fourso my time allocation right now is very erratic. And since we have just a small room for living space when Isadora is home and watching Lili I have people singing and dancing in front of me.
    These are great tips for those set up properly.
    I will add to your snack position. Removing the time wasted at the office + commute time? You can get 50% more done and have your house cleaned. Or work out. I would break up work that way. Instead of 10 mins walking to the office kitchen for more coffee and back I could put away dishes and do a set of pushups or dumb bell curls. I would walk to the dry cleaners. All that time I wasted going to and from and at the office increased my work production and increased my home free time.

    • @HowieG Such a good idea to add in pushups and sit ups for breaks during the day. I’m totally going to do that.

      • HowieG

        @ginidietrich that is why I come here. I bring value to your blog and life Gini.

  • I wouldn’t know, I’ve never worked at an office. 🙂 My work space is highly optimized as a result of my decision to NOT have an away from home office. I definitely get more done here than anywhere else, it’s hard to beat my computer setup, abundant white board space and everything I need at my fingertips. The distractions are still here, though, namely of the son variety. When he gets home from school my days tend to slow down a lot. It’s not so bad though because I get to watch him grow up closer than most would, for that I am grateful. It’s only gotten easier too, 90% of what I do can be done from anywhere with a phone and an internet connection.

    • @hackmanj Never?! Really??

      • @ginidietrich Never! My first job (summer after high school) was at a Kawasaki shop, I didn’t work in the back office (I was in sales). 2nd (and last) job was Sherwin Williams, I was in the field. I visited a branch now and then but I worked out of my house. Then I started my IT company, even when I had employees they came to my house and in later years my garage. 🙂
        I totally don’t get the working in an office thing. 😉

        • HowieG

          @hackmanj  @ginidietrich biggest problem with working from home? Your work is ALWAYS there. Sometimes it is a huge oppressive feeling drawing you to do things (like Blog) when you should be driving drunk at high speeds on quaaludes in heavy pedestrian locations refusing to use your brakes.

        • @HowieG  @hackmanj  @ginidietrich I just drive drunk and blog. It saves time.

  • I had a remote office for seven years and loved it. Takes some getting used to at first, but when you adjust it really is easy to increase productivity.
    The time I spent not commuting could be dedicated to work or other tasks.
    But I have to concede that school holidays and vacations sometimes made life more challenging. Love having the kids around but there are those moments where it is hard to work because they need you.

    • @Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Yeah…I don’t have that challenge so it’s hard for me to have that perspective.

  • The door is Everything. And white noise in noise canceling headphones may have changed my life. Helps to enjoy and believe in your work too. I go to conferences, and coffee shops or visit peers in incubators or work dates to get the live social aspect. It matters too.

    • @Tinu I think, because of my travel schedule, I get enough of that live aspect. I have zero desire to go work in a coffee shop. But I’m with you…the headphones are AWESOME!

      • Keena Lykins

        @ginidietrich  @Tinu What type of headphones do you use? I’ve never thought about them before, but now I’m wondering if they would be helpful.

        • @Keena Lykins  @Tinu I got some Bose noise canceling headphones for Christmas and I’m not sure how I lived without them before.

    • @Tinu oh, I really like the headphone idea. I need some of those. I usually put music on the headphones but it still gets a little loud around here some times.

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  • So, I am a major extrovert and I’ve had people ask me whether I’m worried about not getting to “see” people in the form of coworkers, a boss, etc. Between social media, phone calls, Skype, coffee shop visits and client interactions, I haven’t noticed feeling like I need to talk to people. On the contrary, I’ve been really enjoying time to work uninterrupted as needed.
    We are in the process of adding a door to my home office (!!!) and I already have headphones, although not as fancy as those. I agree with you on the snacks. I used to be a big snacker so aside from occasional fruit and nuts, H2O is my go-to. 
    I love the flexibility that comes from working at home, too. I will say that my biggest challenge so far has been the noise, which is why I’m looking forward to the door.

  • I love to work from my own office that is upstairs and everyone knows that what is the time I don’t want anybody to interrupt and distract me from my projects.

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