Nowadays, a growing number of working professionals choose to do so from the comfort of their homes.

Coupled with the deterioration of traditional office-culture, a shift to increased at-home employees raises new questions about how to remain professional outside of an office atmosphere. In fact, the major downside to working at home is keeping up productivity, motivation, and a professional attitude.

By using our top ten ways to be professional working at home, you can better prepare yourself to be taken seriously as a long-term work-at-homer.

10. Get out of bed and get dressed

Start the day by acting as if you’re heading to work – just inside your own home. Not only will you look the part of a working professional, but you’ll feel like it, too. It’s easy to fall into the trap of working in your pajamas on your couch, or worse, in bed! While being casual and comfortable might be viewed as a perk of working from home, ask yourself if you’ll honestly feel productive as this sedentary workstyle persists for weeks, months, or years.

A morning routine is key. Make a cup of coffee, change into comfy, but presentable clothes, eat a healthy breakfast, and turn on your computer in a dedicated work space.

9. Buy the necessary equipment

It’s important to have all of the equipment you need to run your business, including a computer, scanner, printer, copier, phone, and fax machine. Know what you need, what you can do without, and any relevant tech support numbers in case of mid-day emergencies. If your employer provides you with equipment or with an electronic reimbursement, make sure to check company policies to know what will be fully covered.

8. Create a dedicated office space

Designating a specific place for a home office, will help you stay professional and organized. This area should have a desk, comfortable chair, and plenty of storage for all work-related documents, reference materials, and supplies. It’s best to have this space away from your bedroom or a living room with a television. Spruce up your space with a business whiteboard, chalkboard, or cork board to hold motivational phrases, images, and important passwords and logins.

7. Get organized

Maintaining a balance between work and home-life is one of the most difficult aspects of working from home, because your office is technically right there in front of you every day. To separate your time, rely on organization. Use filing systems to keep physically organized in a single office area. Further, implement lists, to-dos, and reminders to divvy up your working time and stay on track through lunches, breaks, and meetings.

6. Plan your day

In the same vein of organization, keep an updated calendar of important meetings, deadlines, phone calls, etc. that you’d like to stay on top of each day. This will help you minimize home distractions while simultaneously maximizing productive stretches of time.

5. Set work hours

Be sure to communicate with your boss, client, or coworkers what your daily hours are so that people know when you’re available. Create a time slot for each of the day’s activities. This helps remind others while holding yourself accountable to your work-time and play-time hours. For working parents, this might mean setting a schedule around other responsibilities, such as a child’s nap time or school pick up time.

4. Create a quiet video-call friendly environment

Many people who work from home rely heavily on technology to keep in touch, such as email, chat, or phone. Sometimes a video call is necessary for joining in on meetings or presenting information to others. Keep this in mind while you set up your home office. Make sure that the video view is a simple, organized space with minimal distractions behind you for when you need to dial in on the regular.

3. Avoid home distractions

Between TV, family members, and pets, there are plenty of distractions to keep you from maintaining focus and getting productive work done. When working at home, planning ahead is key. Make sure that everyone in your household understands and respects the timeframe where you expect silence to concentrate. This might mean keeping snacks or activities for young children readily available. Scheduling dog walks during your lunch break. Or if nothing else, finding an office space with a door that you can shut.

Similarly, many professionals working at home fall victim to being taken advantage of from family members, neighbors, or friends for their seemingly available status. A neighbor might ask you to monitor and sign for a package on their behalf. A visiting in-law might lounge around the house expecting you to entertain them. Whatever the scenario, be firm in setting boundaries.

2. Limit the amount of time you’re on social media or email

You might find yourself constantly checking email or your social media apps while trying to otherwise remain engaged and connected to your office. Don’t fall into the trap of checking email too much, because you’re worried about being out of the loop. Too much time being preoccupied will hinder your productivity on other tasks. Similarly, don’t let social media breaks throw you off track. Download a professional instant chat feature, such as Slack, to receive pressing matters from those you work with, and trust that if you’re needed you’ll be contacted. Point blank, avoid multitasking with non-work related activities.

1. Communicate effectively

On the flip side, make sure that you’re proactive at checking in and communicating your daily progress. Staying one step ahead, by anticipating what people need from you before they have to ask, is a good way to show your professionalism. Everyone appreciates a go-getter who proves that they’re getting good work done no matter where they’re located in the world.

by Info Guru Samantha Rose