One of the more remarkable developments in the workplace over the last several years has been the advent of technology allowing more and more workers to telecommute, or work from a home office.
Telecommuting allows for greater flexibility in balancing work and home life—particularly for women and couples with children—but it can also open up a host of temptations and loss of productivity, if one allows.
As a full-time communications consultant, I work from a home office to solve problems for my clients, manage social media campaigns, and keep up-to-date on professional development. Learning to effectively manage my own time while finding a work-life balance has definitely been an ongoing discipline.
Keeping in mind the principles of hard work and stewardship espoused in the Bible, here are five biblically-inspired ways you can continue being a faithful employee while working from home.
1. Do not allow the lack of direct and present oversight deter you from promptly accomplishing your responsibilities.
Proverbs 6:6-8 says,
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.
Continuing to go above and beyond, even without your manager over your shoulder, will still allow you to reap the benefits of your hard work when it comes time for the next presentation or review.
2. Be a trustworthy and available employee.
In Titus 2:7-8 we read,
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
While you should not think of your co-workers in the office as opponents, it is still incredibly important to show that you are just as reliable and available as your office-bound counterparts.
Sticking to the agreed upon hours, being timely in responding to emails, and making the effort to pick up the phone instead of shooting off an email can help to keep you present in the minds of your coworkers and managers.
3. Wisely budget your time.
Ephesians 5:15-16 exhorts,
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
I have found that I struggle with two distinct temptations when it comes to time management while working from home:
- The temptation to end work early or take a long break in the middle of the day to run errands, go to the gym, or clean the house when I haven’t yet finished all my responsibilities for the day.
- And conversely, the temptation to work during the time I had previously committed to spending with my family.
While your in-office peers have a definite change in environment when they “clock out” for the day, if you have an internet connection, you can work—and your boss knows that. Part of budgeting your time is firmly outlining your work/life schedule with your family and your employer.
4. Get out of the house.
Proverbs 27:17 reminds us,
As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Volunteer, become involved in a church small group, take a class, do pretty much anything that gets you out of the house on a regular, scheduled basis.
When working from home we sacrifice one of the best opportunities for relationship-building and witness that most adults have; telecommuting can be isolating.
I have found it extremely important to my—and my husband’s—happiness to find a hobby that gets me away from the computer and around other people for several hours a week. For me, it is coaching a volleyball team at the local community center and spending time with girlfriends; for others it may be a spin class or book club.
5. Make your health a priority.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul writes,
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
When working in an office we are encouraged to take a small breaks to stretch, go to the restroom, and grab a glass of water. When we make the transition to a home office that circuit can quickly become stretch, restroom, water, stare mindlessly into to the pantry or refrigerator and find a snack.
Taking care of our bodies when constantly faced with the temptation to snack can be difficult. Stocking up on healthy snacks like baby carrots, apples, or almonds can help curb the urge without doing too much damage to your waistline.
The average worker today spends 9.3 hours sitting down, more than most of us spend sleeping! Spending so much time in a chair can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and a host of other health problems.
You don’t have to buy a standing desk to negate some of the downsides of sitting down. Adding a short walk every hour or so can help—just avoid the fridge.
Telecommuters can be subject to a litany of distractions, but I’ve found that following these tips and verses can make transitioning to a home office a blessing to your career and witness.
Editor’s note: Read about God’s purpose in your work in How Then Should We Work?
Have you been encouraged by IFWE blogs? Help us spread the word by becoming a monthly IFWE partner!
On “Flashback Friday,” we take a look at some of IFWE’s former posts that are worth revisiting. This article was previously published on Jan 21, 2015.