Some Thoughts from a Work-from-Home Veteran
With many states, counties and cities issuing orders to “shelter-in-place” or “stay at home”, at least in the foreseeable future the new normal has become working from home.
Sounds like the perfect solution right? Getting to participate in video conferences in your pajamas and slippers. Or sitting on your patio, laptop in hand, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air while you work. Ahh…I can see it now!
But as someone who’s worked from home for well over twenty years, trust me it’s not always that idyllic! Especially if you’re doing it for the first time or have a spouse and children at home as well. In fact in can be downright stressful! Even more so than being at the office.
So I thought I’d share a few thoughts on how I’ve been able to do it successfully for many years. But before I do, let me clarify this is what worked or still works for me.
The first challenge I faced was actually motivating myself to work on work! It’s awfully easy when you’re at home to become very flexible with your time. This is especially true if your boss or clients don’t really care about what hours you work as long as you produce the expected results on time.
So what worked for me was to actually keep my routine exactly the same, including getting dressed (sans the high heels) and sitting down to work at the same time I would if I was at the office. This really helped! Especially since I was dressed for work, I was a lot less tempted to do household chores, watch TV, take a nap or work out in the yard on a beautiful day.
This routine also helped me to stop working at the same time I would if I was at the office, because by the end of the day I was ready to change into those comfy clothes and relax!
Another thing I did (and still do) is put the work away at the end of the day and organize my desk before I walked away. This is really important to me to bring conclusion to the workday. And it also makes it more of an effort to get everything out again and start working for just another hour or so.
Now I will confess as a writer and consultant, sometimes I work into the evenings or on the weekends. In my chosen profession, creativity is a must and inspiration doesn’t just happen Monday through Friday from 9:00-5:00! So when inspired, I work!
Another trick that sounds really simple (but really isn’t) is to take a break! If you are used to doing that at the office, continue that routine at home. Even if it’s for 30 minutes to have some lunch. And by that I mean walk away from your laptop or desk and have lunch. It really does serve to rejuvenate and refresh so you can finish the rest of your day.
And lastly…take advantage of the perks working from home can offer! I mentioned earlier about working on your patio with laptop in hand. Even though my desk is stationary, my office most definitely isn’t! Somedays I work in the kitchen (admiring the view of the patio), sometimes I work outside, and yes…sometimes I do work on the couch in my pajamas!
The key is to figure out what’s best for you, so in these unprecedented times, you can make working from home work for you!
Have some tips on how you are successfully working from home? I’d love to hear them! Let’s keep the conversation going so we can all be #AloneTogether
Your Partner in Advocacy…Kathy