Whether it’s a corporate decision to reduce overhead expenses, or a personal decision to cut travel times, it seems more sales professionals are working from home offices these days. While some thrive when working from home, others really struggle to stay on track and can no longer produce their required sales numbers.
I have worked from a home office for many years and I wouldn’t trade the lifestyle for anything. I have even found I can accomplish more in a day than when I was working in a traditional office environment. Having said that, I have taken certain steps to ensure I stay productive. If you work from a home office, here are some tips to help make it work for you:
- Have a designated work area so that you are still technically going to the office every day. It may only be a 30 step commute as opposed to a 30 minute commute, but you want to have a place that is your own that is set it up with all the tools you need to be productive. You also want your own space so that when you arrive there, you are mentally at work, not at home. Besides, working at the dining room table allows for far too many of life’s daily distractions to creep in, not to mention great family discord when everyone wants to eat.
- Keep regular work hours. First and foremost, you need to practice self-discipline to do what you need to do each and every day to be successful. However, if you work until midnight every day, you are going to burn yourself out very quickly. Working from a home office doesn’t mean your home life needs to be all about work. At the end of the day, shut your office door and go “home”. If you worked at a downtown office you wouldn’t be there 24/7 to answer your phone, so why should you when you work from a home office. If the phone rings during dinner, let it go to voice mail!
- Get dressed for work each day. If you spend your day in your pajamas, mentally you are in lounge mode, not work mode. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie every day, but at least dress in business casual attire so that you feel like you are ready for work.
- Schedule time to meet and speak to other people. Sales people are not loners. It’s in our nature to need to connect with people. As such, many sales people who work from home start to feel isolated after a while, and their sales performance can really suffer as a result. To prevent this, take the time to network, both online and in person at local networking events. Use free online video conferencing like Skype to connect “face to face” with colleagues who are also working out of a home office. If you are a sales manager, schedule weekly conference calls or webinars with your sales people who do not report into your office every day. Personally, I volunteer on an organizing committee of a local charity so that I still feel part of a larger team.
Whether it’s by corporate mandate or by personal choice, working from a home office environment can be rewarding and cost effective. More importantly, if you take the time to create a designated work space, both physically and mentally, it can be very productive as well. As W. Clement Stone once said, “You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective.” More motivational quotes here.
More ideas to make you more productive in sales are in my book, Action Plan For Sales Success. As one reader wrote in his recommendation, “I wanted to share something that helped me double and almost triple my sales this year, and the year isn’t over yet!”