The office landscape has drastically changed. More professionals are telecommuting and working from home than ever before, and the trend continues to gain momentum. In fact, 13.4 million people, or 9.5 percent of the workforce, now work at home either full-time or part-time according to a new Census Bureau report. As an executive recruiter, I have the opportunity to work from home on occasion and have found that if planned appropriately, my days outside the office can be just as—if not more—productive than in-office days.

However, before you pack up your cubicle and head home to work, consider these three tips on how to work from home effectively:

Create a dedicated office space. The key to being efficient and successful when working from home is to establish a proper office space from which to work. Sprawling out on the dining room table or setting up camp on the sofa won’t lead to the highest productivity rates. Choose which area will be your “office,” set up all the necessary equipment and supplies, and use that dedicated space to work from each day.

Set your hours and plan your day in advance. Along with having a dedicated space to work from, it’s crucial to set office hours. At home it’s easy to become distracted or take a break to fit in the laundry or errands. Therefore, it’s vital to determine when you plan to work each day and what you want to accomplish during that time. Also remember to cover the ground rules with your family so they know what to expect during your work time, as well as how and when they can communicate with you.

Get out of the pajamas. While a suit and tie aren’t necessary, you should dress as if you’re headed into the office. This will help keep you in the right mindset and focused on the work at hand. I typically choose to wear clothes that are not overly comfortable, forcing me to sit up straight at my desk and feel professional.

With the flexibility and freedom it affords, working from home can help you accomplish your professional and personal goals, whether it be to make better use of your commute time or arrange your schedule so that you can train for a marathon. However, it’s important to know how to work from home effectively in order to drive success for both your career and your employer.

Do you work from home? If so, what are your best practices and work at home tips?


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