Working from Home: The Critical Skills You Need to Practice to be the Best Version of Yourself

by Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA

The option to work remotely seems like a dream come true for many of us. No rush hour traffic, some extra sleep, no dress code (sweatpants anyone?) and it saves a ton of money in gas. What’s not to love!?

There’s a LOT to love about the option of working remotely, but it’s not without its challenges and responsibilities. And I’m not talking about job-specific responsibilities. I’m referring to the personal responsibilities that are critical for us to maintain a healthy career.

Being comfortable in our homes, it can be easy to fall into a habit of openly complaining about the boss, sharing “news” about a colleague or catching up on all the office scuttlebutt. It may feel safe to speak our minds on these topics since the only one who can hear us outside the conversation is the family cat or dog.

It can also be tempting to sleep a little late, shuffle to our laptops in our pajamas, or to leave the morning TV shows on in the background because “I work better with some background noise.”

These actions and others can quickly lead to some bad habits that have real potential to negatively impact our career.

Unless we’re in our final year before retirement (and even then, I don’t recommend it!), we need to get up and “go to work” every day. This means we get up, clean up, get dressed (even if in casual clothing), and intentionally transition from our home time (TV, pajamas, etc.) to our professional time. When we do, we show up feeling like the professional coder we want others to see and respect: dressed, clean and ready to work without distractions.

We also remember not to descend into the negative habit of complaining, and we remind ourselves that while we may be working at home; our attitude will travel beyond the walls of our home office and impact our relationships and career.

Yes, there are opportunities to fall into some bad habits when we work from home, but there’s good news! There are even more opportunities for us to contribute positively to our team and the coding profession!

We can reach out to encourage a new colleague or one who is struggling. We can be that go-to person who provides ready help for anyone who has questions throughout the day. We can become the person who points out someone’s good points when others call to complain about them, and we can support our manager when others are making lists of the terrible way that s/he leads the team.

We can share helpful hints, positive news, kind words and the best of ourselves. We won’t be perfect (none of us are), but we can practice being kind and patient with others in the way that we hope they will be kind and patient with us – even when we’re not on our best game.

Taking care to mind our actions, attitude and words puts the finishing touch on our careers. What’s better than a skilled coder? A skilled coder who is kind, supportive, patient, and positive. Whether we work in an office or out of our homes, we build the BEST careers when we combine our professional skills with the right attitude and action!


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About the Author

Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA
Rebecca Harmon returned to HIM practice in a leadership role after spending many years as an HIM educator. Tapping her broad history of diverse healthcare experience that began with a tour of duty in the US Navy, Rebecca writes regularly and speaks on education, workforce issues, management and life. An energetic and engaging speaker, Ms. Harmon enjoys sharing her unique perspective with student, faculty, professional and community groups.

One thought on “Working from Home: The Critical Skills You Need to Practice to be the Best Version of Yourself

  1. Sylvia - March 18, 2020 at 2:33 am

    Very good information to know. Especially avoiding building bad habits.


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