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Work from Home: Tips for Finance Pros

Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile. Whether you call it working from home, telecommuting, or a flexible work arrangement, more than 3.2 million workers in American are doing it, according to the American Community Survey. The work-from-home trend is expected to only increase according to Global Workplace Analytics.

Until recently, working from home was an option given only to certain positions in companies - finance often excluded. However, improvements in internet security and demands for home/life balance have afforded more and more finance professionals the opportunity to work remotely.

If you find yourself with the option to work from home, it is important to realize it is quite different than just doing your job without commute. Here are five tips to make your work from home experience a success:

Get Ready Each Day While working from home means you do not have to commute; you should still take time to get ready each day. Getting dressed for work helps signal your brain that you are “no longer home” and ready to work. You don’t have to dress formally but research indicates your attitude and performance will be improved if you at least dress in business casual attire.

Create a Workspace Working at home does not entail sitting on the couch with your computer in your lap. To be productive, you need to create a professional workspace. This means a functional desk, with storage and easy access to the tools and equipment you will need. To help, make a list of the items you use daily in the office and equip your home office similarly.

Communicate Boundaries
As a finance professional, you deal with matters which are complex and confidential. It is of utmost importance to establish that your office area, files, and work computer are “off limits” to family and friends.

Follow Good Work Practices Just like you would not walk out of a client meeting or audit to empty the dishwasher; you need to do the same when working from home. You must act as though you are not at home. Do not schedule home repairs, play dates, or other distractions during your work day.

Keep in Touch When it comes to colleagues and managers, don’t let working at home make you out of sight and out of mind. It is important for you to make an effort to reach out to colleagues and get “face time.” Use tools like Skype and online meeting services to see and speak directly with colleagues. It is also a good idea to be in the office once a month, even if only for lunch, just to reinforce personal connections.

Working from home can be both challenging and rewarding. The key to success is capitalizing on the benefits of your new arrangement while staying focused on your performance.