The Dishes are Clean – Tips for Successfully Working from Home

One of my dear friends in Chicago just began working from home for the first time in her career because her office is being remodeled. Liz, welcome to the land of pajamas, flexible hours, and isolation. Working remotely, virtually, from home, whatever you want to call it is different. There’s no getting around it and in Healthcare IT, there are still challenges that come along with the benefits.

For a few positive thoughts about remote work arrangements, check out this great post by my colleague Derek Garrison. I agree with Derek about the cost savings and productivity benefits that remote work perpetuates. I began working from home in 2010 in conjunction with relocation to Chicago, followed by a brief and heinous period back in an office, and (thank goodness) have been back in the home office since the beginning of the year. The following are a few tips from yours truly for successful days as a work-from-homie.

Pet Peeves – Take care of your pet peeves, but do not get sucked into big projects. I have heard this from multiple folks who have tried working from home, “I went to put in a load of laundry and cleaned the whole house.” I completely understand because a sink full of dirty dishes bugs me! Take care of the little things like putting the dishes into the dishwasher or washing them up quickly, but tell yourself, “no” when you start cleaning out your cupboard and getting rid of the 17 gravy boats that estranged aunts and uncles gave as bad wedding gifts. The little chores are the ones that taunt us throughout the day, so go ahead and take care of that one load of laundry, full trash can, or the dishes.

Reallocating Time – I have been guilty of this particular one multiple times as well especially when I first started working from home; I would absolutely lock myself in my office because it was the “work day.” However, what one must realize is that when one is home, one may work whenever and perhaps must work off hours to compensate for time zone changes. It’s OK to work some funky hours and you might be better at your job! I happen to be a night owl and am less productive in the afternoon than I am in the evening and as a recruiter, my job is not an 8 to 5 kind of gig. I work all morning, take my afternoon break and then begin working again around 6 pm. It works famously.

Matt Lauer is so Cute – TV is the enemy! Turn it off! You’ll never get enough done even if you lie to yourself and say it’s “background noise.”

Take a Break for Heaven’s Sake – This is the most important tip of all that I can give. Take a break! If you really must have Matt Lauer and The Today Show in your life, record it and watch over one of your breaks. I find taking a walk outside and getting some air is most helpful when working at home. Heading to a coffee shop for a little caffeine and humanity is nice, too. You would take these breaks at the office too for Starbucks, lunch, and general water cooler chatter, so implement in your home office as well. I have other work from home buddies who head to lunchtime yoga or head out to the deck for some sunshine. Nice.

Ok, dear readership, I’m headed back to work . . . in my pajamas of course.

About the author


Cassie Sturdevant

Cassie Sturdevant is a Senior Recruiter for Impact Advisors, a healthcare IT strategic and implementation services consulting firm just named 2013 Best in KLAS for Overall Services. She specializes in humor and follow up.


  • Great advice Cassie!

    As a fellow work from homer, I wholeheartedly agree with your points. When I first started working from home in 2006, it was not nearly as prevalent as it is now, and I would panic if the dog barked or the kids interrupted while I was on the phone – how unprofessional! Now so many of us work from home that most people are relieved to hear an occasional barking dog because they’ve got one under their desk, too!

    Although I occasionally spend the day in my pjs, I do find that getting up and dressed for work (most of the time jeans and flats) helps me psychologically to be more focused, and sends a signal to anyone else in the household that I’m in work mode.

    I know that many readers also work from home – what are your tips for making it work for you?

  • Thank you Gwen!

    I think getting into the “work mode” is a good idea and doing whatever works for you is best. I came at this from my perspective in which I live alone whereas someone with kids may really enjoy the alone/quiet time when kids are at school, etc.

    I would love to hear others’ tips for successfully working from home and avoiding cleaning out the closet!

  • Great article Cassie! I have a friend who recently started working from home and she is struggling with staying focused. I will definitely share your article with her!


  • Great points, Cassie. I have worked at home for 10 years and love it. I love not having to drive in the heavy traffic times of day. I love not having to go out if there is a bunch of snow- wait a few hours until it melts and then head out. I love starting a load of laundry but that is it- not other projects or chores. And I love being able to start dinner and then heading back to my office for another hour of productive time. And I don’t miss the office gossip and chatter that is always there. So enjoy your home office.

  • Hi Erin –

    Thank you! I hope your friend finds something of value and starts to identify what works for her. Another tip that I know many folks use is creating an “office” or space just for working. I believe many folks find that closing the proverbial door is helpful as well.

    Thank you again Erin!


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