11. Big double-size computer monitors: I have to admit that having two big monitors on mydesktop at first sounded more like an indulgence rather than a necessity, but I was wrong. It is a necessity. For example, dual monitors are great when you are building websites. You can have your development environment on one monitor and the website you are building on the other. As a second example, you can be watching a webinar in one window and working or doing email on the other. Truth be told, there are times when I wish I had three monitors.
12. Appropriate computer power: If you use your computer for more than simple tasks, invest in a high end desktop PC. As compared to a laptop, you can get a lot more speed, power, and memory for the money. This higher speed machine will can save you an enormous amount of time, one imperceptible time slice after another. A second or two here and a second or two there can, over the course of a day, increase your productivity by twenty or thirty minutes a day.
13. Getting proper work direction: One of the biggest time wasters related to working at home is receiving poor and/or inconsistent work direction by your boss. If at all possible, have a backlog of work on your To Do List. This will save you from having unproductive down time while waiting for a return phone call or email from a manager in a far away city or country regarding the next task to be performed.
14. Have a mental separation between work time and home time: One of the biggest problems of working at home for any length of time is work/life balance. People who are inclined to work to much tend to find themselves always working. People who are less inclined and/or interested in working hard, tend to find themselves procrastinating, being distracted by household tasks and pleasantries, and as a result get very little work done. Neither overworking nor underworking is a good long term plan. One burns you out and the other gets you fired. The suggestion here is to know your personal tendencies and have the discipline to moderate your actions.
15. Put a lock on your refrigerator: I’m saying this one tongue-in-cheek (yes, pun intended). I’m not actually suggesting that you put a lock on the refrigerator, but you would be wise to have healthy low calorie snacks available that can be very quickly prepared. The thought is, that because you are at home, it’s very easy to wander into the kitchen to grab a snack. If your snacks are too caloric, you’ll gain weight. If your snacks take too long to prepare, you are wasting too much time. In an office setting it feels funny and unnatural to hang around in the company cafeteria all day, but, it does feel quick, natural, and comfortable hanging out in your kitchen at home.
Lastly, if this has been of value, you may also find value in a column I wrote a few months ago entitled Does telecommuting make you invisible.