I’ve worked from home for over 25 years. It can be very isolating but also very satisfying. Here’s what I’ve learned.
- When you first transition from an office to home it is very weird. You have come from a community and now you are alone. It is important to create ways to stay connected with your friends and team. For all the complaints about social media, I have found it to be a Godsend to folks like me who work out of the house.
- Having a pet around the house is very comforting. I refer to mine as my assistant. Ca$h gets me out of the house. I am never lonely. When my husband first worked from home he was very self conscious when the dog barked while he was on the phone. I have always taken it in stride. There is no shame to working out of the house and I’ve always had a sense of humor over my canine co-worker.
- Your day can last 24/7 if you let it. Create boundaries so that you don’t feel you need to answer that email at 9 p.m. or take a call during dinner. It’s hard but whenever possible give yourself working hours and try to stick to it. On the other hand you can manage your time the way you want to. If you’re a night owl you can work after everyone’s asleep. Just so long as you meet your deadlines.
- Have a ritual. I get up, shower and dress and go to the home office. I walk to the coffee shop with my dog in the morning then when I need a break later in the day we take another walk. Walking or exercise clears your head from your tasks and gives yourself a chance to regroup and come up with ideas.
- Make sure you understand the technology that connects you to the world. It can be extremely frustrating to have a deadline and your tech infrastructure crashes. Know where to get support if your technology is on the fritz.
- Give yourself breaks during the day to get up, do chores, eat some food, take a mental health break. I imagine some folks would say stay totally focused but without the distraction of colleagues it helps to get up from the computer.
- Face time is important. Make sure you get out of the office and meet people. Granted, this is difficult in our current environment, but it is essential so you don’t fall off the radar. Networking brings projects. Don’t neglect it.
- Have a designated workspace where you go in the house. I have a room in the house which is my office. Surround yourself with your tchotchkes and books and artwork and things that give you comfort. Organize your supplies so you’re not unproductive as you search for things. It’s nice to have a window.
- Stay current on your training. The business environment evolves quickly and even if you work from home you need to keep up with the changes. Continue being a lifelong learner. There are so many tools available to you with just a click. Use apps to help you. Having your phone and laptop together makes you even more productive. Learn shortcuts and ideas from others.
- Make lists. Set goals but manage expectations. Having children in the house slows you down. Power outages slow you down. You can’t walk to someone’s desk if they don’t get back to you right away. Like any other day, working from home can be very productive or it can be a day you feel you didn’t accomplish much. Be kind to yourself as you adjust to your new normal.
Carol McKinley / March 19, 2020
Your insight, especially about being kind to yourself by establishing boundaries, is good to see,Vicky!
Kool Aid Pickles / March 19, 2020
Your comments are right on, for a fellow work-from-homer. Especially the part about establishing your work time vs. play time.
How about staying away from the pantry just because it’s there? 🙂
Natalie / March 20, 2020
Great insight for those of us new to working from home