Rules for Working From Home


Our colleagues at jkOnTheRun thought we’d like this article from Digital Nomad, and they were right.

It’s now been 3 years and 3 months since I accepted a fulltime, salaried position working out of a home office, and I’d have to agree with just about all of Jay White’s rules and lessons for working from home. You start out thinking, “that won’t happen to me” and before you know it, it’s 3 pm and you’re still doing “just one thing” before you stop and have breakfast.

Of his list, I’m only not on board for one:

Dress the part.
In line with the showering bit, you should be keen to the notion that someone may invite you to a last minute web meeting with video. If you are able to work effectively in your shorts, fine, but have a business shirt handy. Some people need to dress up in order to get into the business mood. If you are one of them, dress as if you were really heading into the office.

I’ve read that one before, and sorry, doesn’t work for me. I am definitely not one of those people that needs to dress up to think business. First of all, I rarely, if ever, get pulled into impromptu video meetings. As an organization, we’re not there yet. Thankfully, my day job is casual so even when I’m heading to the office I’m grabbing the jeans and not the panty hose. But I definitely dress differently for the home office. On days I’m working from the basement you will never ever catch me wearing shoes unless I’ve just walked in the door. Just can’t stand the things, and I think better without them.

How about you? Any do-or-die rules for surviving the teleworking life?



Be sure to have a different atmosphere at work and on your privacy, think about which atmospheres should this be…for example atmosphere of performance, atmosphere of good-life…

Keith S.

I just can’t do the whole dress clothes thing. I’ve been lucky in my career to work for companies that didn’t really have dress codes, so it kinda stuck that jeans and a t-shirt were/are my uniform. I do have to do the shower thing though…if I don’t shower and have my coffee (minimum two cups before 9 :) ), I just can’t get started.

Stephen Clay McGehee

While I sit in my office at home, I make sure than I shave each morning and put on nice dress clothes. At a minimum, I wear dress pants and a long sleeve white dress shirt. On occasion I will even wear a coat and tie. I have found that it has a profound effect on my productivity, my level of professionalism, my attentiveness, and how I deal with my customers on the phone. All are greatly improved as a direct result of my outward appearance – something that typically only I and my wife will see.

I know that it makes a MAJOR difference for me. Then again, I wouldn’t wear shorts or flip-flops out in public either.


Lots of things matter. The key is that they matter differently for each of us. Everyone has to find what works for them and run with it.

When I’m working at home, I’m usually wearing sleep pants and a tank top, sitting in front of all my computer equipment. During thinking periods my cat is usually on my lap. I usually have Hulu or Netflix on Demand playing something mindless to distract the add part of me so I can focus on the project at hand. Music works too, but not as well.

I also take advantage of working at home because I can change clothes whenever I want (and I really enjoy changing clothing based on my mood). I can also take a break to work out, or shower mid-day if I feel it.

Little breaks to do laundry also help keep the day in manageable chunks.


Having set work hours and sticking to them while working from home is the best trick I use. My manager prefers to know when I’m available and when I’m not, so having a set work schedule makes everyone happy. Since everyone knows my schedule, family included, I have very little interruption during the day and the work always gets done. I have a set lunch hour that I take every day as well, even though I’m steps away from the computer. I don’t dress up for work, but I do make sure I’ve showered, brushed my teeth, and have on something clean. It just makes me feel more productive and less out of touch with “workplace norms.”


If my mind is on, I’m thinking about work. Sometimes it even happens when I’m asleep. It’s sad, no, not really – love what I do.
So, I don’t need any little t(r)icks to get me working. It’s harder for me to step out of that work head-space, and I need the prompts to do it: family in the car, at the park; helmet on, out on the bike.


MMmmm, I can smell the armpits from here, guys. Nice – just like being in an office in fact :)

Vive working from home, I say. And vive not having to shower!


One thing for me when I teleworked – I was a software engineer – so the computer was mandatory. In fact I would have many, including a fileserver. I needed to effectively have a thoroughly stripped down and bare working environment with only the bare essentials for my job – no personal emails, no messaging other than required for work, no other programs than the ones I needed. I achieved this via a dual boot and using linux largely for my work – but it could be done with a separate account or even computer. I found this routine invaluable.


I agree on the shower \ dress in something other than PJs bit – and make yourself eat on a workplace schedule (breakfast and lunch at a normal time, else you forget to eat and end up gorging at some point, then you get sleepy from gorging… and lose “work rhythm”)

At least shower and put on something clean, then eat breakfast, then make time for lunch.

Only other recommendation is not to face a window when working (or, if you do, blinds down until the sun passes by, windows are distracting!)


People underestimate the value of dressing for the home office. Often I hear people talk about working in their PJ’s etc. but until I’ve put on a clean shirt and settled into my office I don’t really consider it work.

Brett Atkin

I agree with Stephen on the “busines is business” thing. My wife doesn’t always agree though…

I believe that having to use those little mind tricks are just signals of a bigger issue. Maybe working on your own isn’t for you.

Stephen L. McMahon

I live in Honolulu but work for a company in Houston so there’s little chance of an impromptu meeting…Shorts and flip-flops (slippahs) for me.

My main must-have is separation and privacy — I have to have a separate working space from my living area with an understanding from others that working from home doesn’t mean that I can do other stuff — business is business.


I work from home and haven’t showered in days…Wha? Did I say that out loud?

Comments are closed.