Work it out: Home office gets the job done

The average commute in the United States now tops 30 miles, but for a growing number of employees, the office is just steps away.

They’ve joined the ranks of professionals working from home, a trend fueled by the rising cost of gas. If you plan to start working from home, consider these tips:

• Pick a space — It’s important to designate one room as a workspace. Doing so can help you be more productive and also maintain work-life balance. Channel your focus by purchasing a sturdy desk, comfy-enough chair, computer and any other office supplies you might need.

• Create an office — If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, visit an area home center for laminate and wire shelving and then plan a weekend to turn that extra reach-in closet into a full-functioning home office.

• Stay in touch — It’s important to stay in contact with your office when working remotely to keep you as productive at home as you were in the workplace. A land line may provide a more dependable connection for all those conference calls.

• Get tech savvy — Understanding a few points about computers and Internet connections can help you quickly deal with small technology problems as they arise. After all, when working remotely, the IT department isn’t down the hall.