Matthew Inman (a.k.a. The Oatmeal) recently made another brilliant comic that addresses the situation. Why working at home is both awesome and horrible - The Oatmeal
For my bro, and others in similar positions I offer my advice; culled from a few years of personal failures
- Behave just like the home office is still at "THE OFFICE"
- Keep regular office hours
- Leave the home office
- Find an office space
1. Behave just like the home office is still at "THE OFFICE":
Many people are tempted when envisioning the Home Office of the glory of being able to work in ones undershorts. This is IMHO a big mistake. Break from home habits; Shower, groom, and dress just like you are going to the "Office". Make a mental start to your day by following the exact routine you would if you had to meet with the boss at the main office, avoid falling into lazy patterns that you will have to unlearn later. Additionally, you start the day prepared for that late call to head out to customer site.
To assist in the break from home habits to work habits give yourself a commute; even if it is only a walk around the block or a short bike ride. Mentally gather yourself for the working day and make a clean break from the home front.
3. Keep regular office hours
Determine when you are on and off the clock and stick to it (at least try). Set expectations among your co-workers for when you are working and when you are not. Follow repeatable and predictable patterns. If you don't like having the Hong Kong Office call you at 7:00 PM then don't send them emails at that time, or call them on the evenings that you are breaking office hours. You are most likely not getting paid for a 24-hour day so don't work one.
4. Leave the home office
Otherwise you will always feel like you are at work and never be able to relax even on holidays and weekends. That is the curse of the home office, you never leave work. Consider setting up an alternative phone line as the "Office line" (get one free from Google if you have to). And have people call you there during office hours; leave the home phone unanswered during business hours and do the same for the business line during off hours. If you make a clear distinction of office time to home time others will follow the lead.
5. Find an office space
Working from home is no picnic and makes being home less enjoyable sometimes. Make an office space specifically for work; Rent one near home, set up shop in the library or Coffee house, or set aside space in your house ONLY for that purpose. I find it impossible to leave the work behind if my workspace is the Kitchen Counter or the same computer desk I sit at for chatting it up with buds on the Social Net. Likewise, it is hard to get to work in the space you also use for leisure.
Good luck if you are making the move from Cubicle Hell to working from home. But make sure you set yourself up to be successful in both walks of life--by keeping them as separate as possible.