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5 Tips For Work-At-Home Dads

I’ve been a work-at-home dad for a few years now, and despite what you may think, it can be as much of a curse as it is a blessing. I read Mike Spohr’s take on his experiences, and most of it rings true for me (except the part about missing the weird guy from Accounting – Stanley, I never cared for your World Of Warcraft stories, and telling them to me while we were both parked in front of urinals didn’t help).

I’ll preface these tips with this: if your company allows you to work from home, consider yourself lucky. I’m a recruiter/HR consultant by trade, and as such have been able to leverage technology – all I need to do my job is a laptop and a phone, and over the past five years, my employers have recognized that I can and do actually work smarter and harder from my home office than from a cubicle, with its myriad distractions. Most of us, though, work in fields that require at least some time in an office or workplace. If you’re a dad and are testing the Work-From-Home waters, here are five tips that will save you headaches, heartaches, and possibly your job.
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  • Set Your Office Hours, With Your Boss AND Your Family. 1 of 5
    Set Your Office Hours, With Your Boss AND Your Family.
    Make sure everyone - especially your employer, but also your spouse and kids - knows when you're "at your desk". This way the boss will know when to reach you, and your family will know that you're working.
  • Call Your Co-Workers Whenever You Can. 2 of 5
    Call Your Co-Workers Whenever You Can.
    We've become an email-dependant society, which can be a bad thing for a remote employee. Calling the folks back at the corporate office on a regular basis reminds them you're an actual living person, not just a name on a distro list. You won't think you'll miss having actual conversations with your teammates, even Stanley The Weird, but you will. And maintaining communication with your boss and co-workers will help fend off the impression that you're kicking back at home, watching that "Firefly" marathon on the SyFy Channel instead of doing your job. (Unless your job is TV Critic.)
  • Take A Break And Get Some Exercise. 3 of 5
    Take A Break And Get Some Exercise.
    It's very easy to become a desk potato in a home office. Set aside some break time, get outside and take a walk, pop in a PDX90 disc, or go hit your local gym. Not only is it good for you physically, exercise is a great way to kickstart your PowerPoint-numbed brain.
  • Stay Focused. Avoid The TV At All Costs. 4 of 5
    Stay Focused. Avoid The TV At All Costs.
    It's very tempting, that "Firefly" marathon. Resist. One of the benefits of working from home is that you'll find that you're able to concentrate and do much more, free from the normal distractions of the workplace. What you CAN do: listen to whatever music suits you, because you are no longer at the mercy of your cubemate, and his "Best Of Kenny Loggins" CD.
  • Enjoy Your Freedom. 5 of 5
    Enjoy Your Freedom.
    Most employers that allow their employees to work from home do so because they trust those folks to get the work done - and understand that there will be times when you won't be chained to your desk. Take advantage of this: spend a little extra time with your family, or do something cool for yourself. That freedom is the biggest perk of all.

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