B y K a n d i A n d o n
Working from home is an attractive
benefit of being a scopist. How
many careers allow the flexibility
of working the hours you choose, the
satisfaction of being your own boss and
no dress code?
Working from home can also be a
difficult task that requires commitment
and self-discipline to be successful. Try
implementing the BE BOLD approach.
Build your business.
Be selfish with your work time.
Organize your workspace.
Learn, learn, learn.
Decorate your workspace.
1. Build your business. Designate
a percentage of your income to reinvest
in your business. Make a list of items
that will make you more efficient and
your services more attractive. Maybe
you would benefit from updated computer
or office equipment, high-speed
Internet access, new office furniture or
an advertising campaign. Decide which
item will benefit your business the most
and start with that.
Shop around for the best price. Google.com
is a great starting point for finding just about
anything on the Web. Catalog and Internet
shopping saves time and vehicle expense
and lets you easily compare prices.
You can find used equipment through
online support groups and trade journals.
2. Ergonomics. Ergonomics is “an
applied science concerned with designing
and arranging things people use so
that the people and things interact most
efficiently and safely” (Merriam-Webster’s
You will be able to work longer and
with less physical strain if you consider
ergonomics. One of your most important
purchases should be a chair that is
adjustable and positions you properly at
your workstation. Don’t forget the “90”
rule when sitting: Your back and legs
should be at a 90-degree angle, and
your arms extended at 90 degrees to
your seat. By keeping ergonomics in
mind while designing your workspace,
you can keep those difficult jobs a figurative
pain in the neck rather than a literal
3. Be selfish with your work
time. Flexibility is a great benefit of
working from home, but don’t become
too flexible or you will not be successful
in reaching your goals. Schedule
your workday and allow time for
Use technology to protect your time.
Practically everyone has an answering
machine or voice mail, so take advantage
of them. My favorite timesaving
device is Caller ID. It allows me to answer
important calls immediately and
return the less urgent ones at a convenient
4. Organize. Keep your supplies
and reference materials within easy
reach. Not only will you know where
everything is, you’re more likely to use
your reference materials when they are
handy. And although walking to a bookcase
is a small thing, if it takes 20–30
seconds round trip, over a 20-year career
you could probably have read Gone
With the Wind.
5. Learn, learn, learn. Invest in
reference materials. Keep up with current
events. If you don’t know how to
read steno, learn! Expand your vocabulary.
Read about new technology. Visit
online forums. The list is endless, but
the idea is to make yourself more valuable
and knowledgeable as a scopist.
6. Decorate your workspace. It
may seem frivolous to spend time, energy
and money decorating your workspace,
but it is important to make it a
place where you want to spend time. It
doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
Painting results in a dramatic and
immediate change, but be careful when
choosing the color since it can affect
your mood. Very bright colors can be
overstimulating, and very cool colors
can be too relaxing. Neutral colors provide
a good balance.
Keep in mind that “neutral” doesn’t
mean white or beige. To pick a neutral
shade, visit your local paint store and
pick a sample strip from your favorite
color group. There will be several strips
of different shades of your favorite
color ranging from cool to warm. Take
out the one in the middle of the range
and you’ve picked the neutral one.
Now count down three to five shades;
you’ll find that you are near the middle
of the strip. Consider those colors for
Take the paint strip home. Keep it in
your workspace and see how it looks
during the hours you are there. If you
like it, go back to the store and make
If you are not ready to paint, try
adding some accessories. Rugs can add
color, texture and warmth. Live plants
are decorative and add oxygen to the
room. A bright floral bouquet can add a
splash of color. Candles, potpourri, essential
oils and room fresheners can be
a “scentsational” addition. Photos of
friends, family and loved ones also add
warmth and remind many of us why
we chose to work at home in the first
Kandi Andon is a scopist from Bradenton, Fla.,
and can be reached at kandiandon@hotmail.
com. If you have questions about the scoping
column, please contact JCR Contributing Editor