(Not Another Working From Home Blog)
For years, I never embraced the concept of working from home. To me, work was work and home was home. As a single, working mother, I always appreciated that I could leave the work at the office (for the most part) and concentrate on my second job: dinner, homework, bedtime, etc. The few times that I did work from home due to a sick kid, it was always a struggle to concentrate either on the job or on the sick kid (who was always miraculously better right as the school day ended).
Not to mention, when you aren’t usually home during the day you don’t realize how much dust there is! I mean where does it all come from?
Things drastically changed in early March when Haley Marketing went fully remote due to COVID. At first, it was like summer camp. Things were different, we were all in this together, Zoom meetings were new and it was fun seeing everyone’s background. This was going to be a great few weeks!
Now that the weeks have grown into months – and our reopening plan has been extended – there are aspects of working from home that I truly enjoy. Here are some tips that I have learned along the way to make working from home a long-time success:
- Create a space for work – I’ve always had a room dedicated as an “office.” It was also the guest room, storage room and catch-all room. Throw it in the office and I will take care of it later. The room was more of an afterthought than an office. While my grandfather’s antique desk is beautiful, it was not made for a dual-monitor, workstation AND room to work. With a few minor investments – a side desk to match the antique one, a new rug, new window blinds and some artwork on the walls – I was able to turn the room into a legitimate work space. And, created a space that is enjoyable to spend time in.
- Invest in technology – In the office I work on two large monitors. Recreating this set-up at home makes for a seamless transition to remote work. My internet access was acceptable for streaming TV shows and the nighttime gaming of my teenage son. Once my son and I were competing for Wi-Fi during the day, investing in a new router became necessary to accommodate working online, regular video calls – and the new gaming system that he got for graduation.
- Stick to a routine – While some love the flexibility of working from home and the ability to stay in their pajamas all day, being a traditional “9-to-5-er,” I find it easier to stick to a routine. Getting up at the same time each day, showering and getting dressed makes it seems somewhat normal. Also, stepping away at lunch – and having my lunch on my deck – keeps the regular workday schedule even at home.
- Embrace the flexibility – I admit that I am a creature of habit – I like my routine. But it is nice to have the ability to change a few loads of laundry and walk with my friend at 4:30 (on the three days a week that she is working from home). Being able to jump online early, take a shorter lunch, or finish up later in the evening is a great benefit of this new lifestyle.
- Remember to move – We’ve all heard of the risks of a sedentary lifestyle. The activity of the offices helps keep you moving. Without that it is easy to spend hours without moving out of the office chair. Being mindful of getting up and moving around makes all the difference at the end of the workday.
- Know when to shut off – This might be the most important one for me (and the origins of my 4:30 almost daily walk). If I am not careful, I find myself trying to finish up “one last thing” (write that one last blog post) and all of a sudden it is 7 or 7:30 and I haven’t moved in several hours. The above mentioned friend keeps me honest with a text or call, even on the days we don’t walk.
It was very impressive how quickly the Haley Marketing team was able to transition to remote work – without missing a beat. And, while I still miss seeing my coworkers daily, we are able to keep up company meetings and several times a week on afternoon Zoom “coffee” calls – and have been able to keep everyone safe.
I am also very grateful and realize how lucky I am to not have to manage homeschooling children while working from home. To the parents who are juggling working from home, remote schooling and those insane hybrid schedules – I don’t know how you do it. I salute you!
Send along any additional tips for this WFH newbie; they are greatly appreciated, especially since it doesn’t look like we are returning to “normal” any time soon.