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When Working from Home Isn't Working For You

A work-at-home slump can be fixed with a number of simple changes ranging from placing yourself in social settings to eliminating certain distractions around the house.
A mom stresses while her kids argue.

At first, working from home was a dream. But you’re slowly feeling like working from home isn’t, well, working for you. Here are some ways in which working from home can be tricky—and what to do about it.

Problem # 1. You’re lonely.

One of the main reasons you actively searched for a telecommuting position is that you wanted to work in peace. Alone. Without catty colleagues gossiping about everyone at the office or a micromanaging boss tracking your every move. But now that you’re home day in, day out with no one to talk to except your cat, you’re feeling left out…and lonely.

Solution. If you find yourself pouncing on the UPS guy every time he comes up the driveway with a delivery, you need to find some ways to score human interaction. So start within your company first. Social media sites such as allow employees to interact with each other in a more social setting. Or reach out and IM with people in your company. If your job’s headquarters are not too far away, you can always drop in to get some social time.

Problem # 2. You can’t focus.

When you worked in a traditional office, you were distracted by incessant chatter, phones ringing and other trappings of cubicle life. You fantasized about working in at home, in silence. Now, you struggle to get your day started because you’re distracted by the dirty dishes, scrolling through your Facebook feed—and those DVR-ed episodes of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami.

Solution. Working from home takes more dedication and focus than working in a traditional office. When you sit down to start your day, you have to turn everything else off, including the TV. Treat your home office as you would a regular office, and act accordingly. Stay centered on the work at hand, so that way you don’t end up working extra hours because you’re distracted.

Problem # 3. You’re working all over your house.

Doing your 9-5 in a cubicle felt stifling to you. If only you could have your own space to decorate as you wish, it would boost your efficiency. Now that you work from home you find yourself working from your bed, your kitchen, and yes, sometimes, the bathroom, too. Problem is, it hasn’t helped your competency—and you can never find those important documents for the office, either.

Solution. In order to stay on track—and boost your productivity—you need to stay centered…literally. Whether it’s the spare room above the garage, a corner in your family room or even a semi-large closet, you need to have a dedicated space that serves as your home office. It will boost your organizational efforts, keep your work streamlined and help you work smarter.

Problem # 4. You’re in PJ’s all day.

When you signed on to work from home, you swore that you would still stay stylish and get dressed for work every day. Now, you’ve slipped into the world of sweats and your hubby’s t-shirts. That is, when you remember to change out of your PJ’s.

Solution. No matter if you’re in an office or not, it’s imperative for you to get dressed every day. It will make you feel better about yourself, and when you feel better about yourself, you’ll be a happier, more productive person. So ditch the fuzzy furry slippers and wear something that makes you feel good about yourself—and watch your productivity soar.

Problem # 5. Your kids keep interrupting you.

You figured that once you started working from home, you could balance the demands of day care as well as filing those expense reports on time. Oh, they money you’ll save, you thought. Now, the quality of your work slipping and your kid wants you to put on another Thomas the Tank Engine DVD and watch it with him.

Solution. One of the biggest work from home myths is that you can easily work from home and take care of your kids, too. The reality is that both will suffer greatly if you attempt to do both. So it’s a good idea for you to keep your child care coverage in place (such as day care or a nanny) during your normal working hours. The lack of interruptions—and subsequent mommy guilt—will help you to be happier and calmer as you accomplish everything on your work-related to do list.

You can easily make working from home work for you again with simple changes. It will go a long way towards achieving a more fulfilling work experience, a happier home life and work life balance.

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