The Do’s and Dont’s of Working from Home

Working at home

By Shweta Jacob @shwetajacob & online at

MM @ Work Columnist

If you read my first post in MM@Work you know that I recently started a new job. One of the reason I love my new job is that I can work from home occasionally. When I first heard this I was ecstatic, we all know the benefits of working from home; no commute time, no need to wear make-up or brush your hair, and chance to catch up on housework. I imagined that I was going to turned into multi-tasking SuperShweta.

Standing by stove making sabji, typing on laptop and having a conference call over speaker phone, all while having Baby J on the hip. Working Mama meets Domestic Diva! This image was quickly shattered the first time I worked from home when Baby J tried to have a conversation with one of my senior executives while I was on a conference call.

The next time I worked from home, I got so engrossed in spreadsheets and calls, that I forgot to eat anything until 3PM. After this I realized I need to find a system to be productive with work while also using the benefits of being at home.



So I put together a schedule for myself to help keep me on track which hopefully you will also find useful:


8:00AM – 8:30AM – Get dressed, eat breakfast, throw laundry in the washer, set up work area.

8:30 – 10:00 – Get through emails, respond to calls and work on deliverables.

10:00 – 10:15 – throw laundry in the dryer. Make a fresh cup of coffee.

10:15 – 12:00 – Continue with work projects.

12:00 – 1:00 – Take a long hot shower! (if you’re anything like me, an uninterrupted shower is a luxury!). Fold laundry, eat lunch and if time permits chop veggies for dinner.

1:00 – 3:00 – Back to work

3:00 – 3:15 – Make any personal calls necessary i.e.: bank, pay bills online

3:15 – 5:00 – Finish up work deliverables, set up to do list for next day, get work bag ready for next day.

I find by time-blocking my day I ensure that my work commitments are met, while also getting ahead at home so that I can spend more time with DH and Baby J in the evening.

Here are some other Do’s and Don’ts of working from home:

Do: Set up a proper work station, if you don’t have a home office, with phone, laptop, pen, notebook and chargers

Do: Answer your phone professionally, as you would at the office.

Do: Give yourself some “me time” after 5 and revel in your ability to work and be a domestic diva!Don’t: Get involved in personal calls

Don’t: Work from bed, you will be too tempted to nap!

Don’t: Have your little ones at home with you, if possible.


Read more columns from MM@work here.

You can send your questions to Shweta  to

Follow Shweta on twitter at @shwetajacob and online at:

 What tips do you have that you can share?


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There are 6 comments

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    • Shweta

      That’s a great point Lindsay! I don’t know how you mamas do it (working from home with kids)! Not having been there myself I can only guess at a schedule:
      Kids Mealtimes – chance to get dishes done, start laundry etc.
      Kids Naptime – time for conference calls and work requiring focused concentration
      Kids Arts/Crafts time – time to respond to emails

      This is just a guess from my viewpoint, but would love to hear from Mamas who are in this situation and can effectively make it happen!

    • Kulbinder

      Hey Lindsay,

      I too am a work from home mom and have been since my three-year old son was born. The ability to be as effective as possible with work while caring for your little ones really depends on the age of your child. I found that once my son hit the toddler stage it became increasingly difficult to multi-task – that’s when I decided to find a good, flexible and affordable preschool in the area. I dropped him off two mornings a week and that allowed me to work uninterrupted. It also allowed him to socialize with kids his own age. The time he is with me, I give him my undivided attention; however, when he is playing, that’s when I can use my iPhone for work. I’m lucky because my husband comes home by 2pm and then he takes over. As I got busier, I increased the days to 3 and a bit longer. But I always get to wake up with my son and have breakfast together – best feeling in the world. Hope this helps. tc, k

  1. Sarah S (@KarachiMama)

    I’m a work at home mom too with a 2.5 yr old daughter who’s more or less home. Our schedule roughly goes like:

    7:15 to 8:45 – bfast/get ready for school
    9 to 12 – school for her, work (At home) for me
    1 to 3: rest/lunch and yes, we’re a family that does watch TV so TV 😛
    3 to 5: Go out to the mall or grandparents or a local community center where she can play indoors (if the latter 2, i work while she plays
    (I usually schedule meetings between 1 and 5 so that she can spend time with the grandparents)
    5 to 6: cook
    6 to 730: dinner/playtime and sigh, TV again
    7:30 to 8:30: get ready for bed and she sleeps. Hubby and I usually have dinner afterwards and watch some TV.

    Love being able to share schedules! I’ve always wondered!

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