June 28, 2012 by Staff Writers

Is It Hard to Work from Home?

Today is question and answer time on Coding Notes. The first question — posted anonymously — is one that many readers might be anxious about:

Question: Is it very hard to work at home?

Dear Reader,

Working from home in medical billing and coding is perhaps the most appealing aspect of the profession as a whole. While not all medical billers and coders work from home, many experienced and certified billers and coders have found employers that allow them to work remotely and highly enjoy the freedom this provides. Even so, that freedom must always be balanced with self-discipline and a commitment not to get lax about your responsibilities and deadlines, even though you’re not reporting to a traditional office environment on a daily basis.

This is the most difficult thing about working from home for people who have never done it. It is often difficult to transition from “leisure mode” to “work mode” in an environment that you have associated with relaxation for your entire life. Some people who work remotely may find that their productivity goes down, finding it tempting to procrastinate work while they surf the web, spend time with their family, or catch up with friends or housework. It’s easy to do when there’s no manager looking over your shoulder throughout the day. But you won’t last long in the industry with that mindset! The fact is, medical billers and coders who work from home must put in a solid day’s work just like a traditional office worker would.

Another difficult thing about working from home is trying to balance work with a role as a stay-at-home parent. If you are imagining a utopian job where you can stay home with young children all day and still get as much work done as you would if you had reported to an office, you may be in store for a difficult balancing act. A spilled juice drink here, a tantrum there, or a missed nap can easily throw a wrench into both your workday and your dreams of utopian work-life balance. For this reason, it may be best for parents of young children to either arrange for a sitter or daycare ahead of time, or arrange a unique schedule with a spouse or significant other. With older children, you may need to either teach them to play on their own while you’re working or arrange activities for them during the day.

Tips for Working from Home

When working from home as a biller or coder, you best bet for productivity is to wake up early, shower, and get dressed like you would for a traditional 8-to-5 grind rather than trying to squeeze work into random pockets of your day. If you put in three hours here, two hours there, and a three-hour stretch starting at eight at night, you’ll quickly start feeling like you’re working all day long. If you can stick to a traditional schedule most days, you may find that you get more done and have a longer stretch of time to relax when work is done. Getting dressed for the day, rather than lounging in pajamas, can help you get in the right mindset for work. Last but not least, setting up a true home office, or at least a designated area of your home where you work (which likely isn’t your couch or bed) can also help you maintain a work mindset while at home.

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