I have worked successfully from a home office in various sales roles in the past, and there are many benefits from working at home; however, there are also many dangers. Sales managers and sales professionals need to be aware of potential pitfalls.
Avoid the following dangers and you will be able to create a highly productive home office environment when you work from home:
Never Shutting Off The Work
One of the main problems with working from home for sales people is that you are technically always at work. It becomes very hard for your mind to separate your free time and your work time. This can result in an unbalanced life-style and addictive work behaviors. Some common negative habits that are formed consist of constantly checking emails, always taking calls even during non-working ours, and working well into the night.
To help prevent these negative habits, set up a separate office space, maintain set working hours with a clear start and end time to your day, shut your computer down, and turn off your work phone during non-working hours.
Not Getting Any Exercise
Sitting on your butt for 8+ hours a day is never a good recipe for physical fitness and health. If you do work from home, then make sure you are scheduling time for your workouts or participating in some sports or activities to stay active. The body and mind are all connected. Without a strong body, your mind will lack the energy it needs to be productive day in and day out. Without energy and a high level of fitness, you will not produce the same results.
Lack of Sales Motivation & Procrastination
When you are on your own working from home, it can be easy to slip into procrastination mode. You can help prevent this by setting weekly and daily goals. Make sure you complete your toughest work activity first thing in the day. Consider finding some accountability partners to help you stay on track.
This can range from laundry, to cleaning, to TV, to personal calls, to running errands, and to nice weather. I have heard of sales professionals and sales managers who simply were so distracted at home, that they wanted to find an office away from home, even if it meant driving well over an hour each way. You must minimize your distractions and set clear guidelines of what you should be doing and should not be doing during working hours.
Not Feeling Like “Real Work” Was Accomplished
Despite working from home being more popular than ever before, a lot of people still don’t see it as “real work.” They think if you don’t commute an hour each way, dress up in a suit, drink coffee with your peers in the morning, and sit in a daily sales meeting, that it isn’t “real work.”
To others, working from home means you have a license to do what you want, when you want. Although this is not true, you need to make sure you set the boundaries with your friends and family. Just because you are at home, does not mean you are free to help them with favors. They need to understand the hours you work, and that you are serious and disciplined when working and can not be disturbed.
Trouble Getting Up Early
Most people don’t like getting up at 5:30AM or 6:00AM to get ready and drive into work. Working from home will often give you some degree of flexibility in this regard, however, be careful that you don’t take advantage of this too much. Make sure you are getting up, taking a shower, getting dressed, and eating before the time you want to start working. Give yourself a solid hour to prepare for the work day. So, if you want to start work at 8AM, make sure you have an alarm going off at 7AM.
The fact that you can feel like you are always at work means it becomes hard to shut down. Too often sales professionals will check email a few minutes before going to bed. This means the last thing on their mind are emails from their management, clients, and prospects. This is not a good way to prepare and relax the mind for sleep. To avoid this, make sure you do not log into your email within 1-2 hours before getting ready for bed.
I love working from a home office, but it is not the paradise that many people presume it is unless you are very disciplined and regimented with your approach. Avoid these dangers, and you too can enjoy working from a home office productively and successfully for many years to come.