You guys might not know this about me, but I have spent years working from home working in a traditional corporate environment. I talk mostly about my love for all things photography, especially newborn, motherhood and family, but that’s a small portion of my working life. Five years ago, I graduated with my MBA and began working in marketing for a computer software company, and 3.5 of those years I was 100% remote due to Michael’s time in the army. Basically, I’m a pro remote worker (not really, but I do have some ideas of what works and what doesn’t).
Working from home is not for everyone, yet we find ourselves today in a place where that is our reality for the near future. So, I wanted to share my five biggest tips for making this a successful transition for you. This is just what I have found works for me, but I have found across the board with my remote colleagues they have at least a handful of these practices in place. The number one thing, if this is not your jam, is to remember, this too shall pass. This is temporary, and it will end.
- Have a space, just for your work.
- In your office I’m willing to bet you have an assigned seat where you do your work, and you should have the same at your house. Now, not everyone has an office room that they can just close the door and shut out the children running like wild things around the house. That’s not realistic anyway. However, you should have a place you can sit at and know, “This is my working space. I’m going to put my working hat on and focus as much as possible on the projects at hand here”. This can be your dining room table amid all the play slides if that’s where you know “I’m going to sit down and work, here.” If you think to yourself when I’m sitting here I’m working, you will be more focused and more committed to what you have sat down to do versus if you’re wandering around. It’s like when you went to grade school and like, you HAVE to sit in that first seat you sat at or your all kinds of unfocused (because WHY would some lunatic want to sit in YOUR seat anyway). Create a working zone and defend it like that 2nd grader in your heart.
- Create a schedule.
- If you’re going into an office you’re used to having a routine, and it can feel like you are thrust into the wildlands now that you are home. Do yourself a favor and make a new routine in this new lifestyle. I don’t mean, get up, work for 8 hours straight, and ignore the children running like wildthings. I do mean, have set blocks where you plan to get serious work done. If you and your partner need to take turns, build that into your schedule. Plan when you will get up and when you are going to sign on and off. Without a routine you’ll find yourself feeling disoriented and less focused and possibly working all hours of the day. I have found my natural tendency has a harder time turning work off than on, so I have to set a time where I tell myself, this is the end of the day, the rest can wait until tomorrow.
- Still be human, aka: shower, put makeup on, etc.
- You guys can bet I went right for my pajamas those first few months. The weirdest thing happened though, I felt cozy on the outside, but sad on the inside. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I wasn’t doing the things that made me feel good about who I was presenting to the world, even if that world was just me and my dog. Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wearing comfy clothes, and you certainly don’t need to wear business casual to prove a point, but you do need to do the things that make you feel like a human being again. That confidence, or lack of, will bubble over not only your work life but your personal life as well. It also gives you a sense of normalcy, and separation from who you are at work vs at home, which is helpful when you are physically at home ALL. THE, TIME.
- Feed yourself well.
- What goes in is what comes out. Junk food will be easier than ever to grab and snack on. Make a point to give yourself healthy foods that will fuel your mind and productivity. There will be times where the days will feel long, but they will feel even longer if you are sluggish and lethargic because of all your kids’ goldfish snacks swimming around your stomach.
- Reach out, get outside, step away.
- I’m not going to lie, working from home CAN feel isolating. There were weeks where I would realize I hadn’t left the house or communicated with anyone in casual conversations (except my husband or my dog) the entire week. That gets lonely quick. Please please please reach out to your networks. Even if you aren’t struggling, THEY might be. Also, please leave your house. Don’t go against guidance and congregate in large groups, but go for a walk, get some fresh air. Enjoy the spring weather as it slowly comes to Columbus. Your eyes and your mind need a rest from your house. Lastly, know when to turn off your computer. Set a time and BE DONE at the end of the day. It can wait. Set boundaries and stick to them.
So those are the things that I have found work for me in a remote working environment. I hope you find these helpful in your temporary transition to working from home and please reach out if you are feeling isolated! Finally just give yourself some grace. Eat those pastries, paint your nails, let your kids watch TV.
All images from Oh Miss Photography. All taken at the amazing Pistacia Vera who you should patron as soon as they reopen.
If you’re feeling the need for some visual distraction, I encourage you to check out more sections of my blog. It’s scientifically proven that looking at baby toes increases happiness. Just kidding, I have no idea what I’m talking about, but I do have some dreamy travel blogs that might help you escape for a few minutes. Then, get back to work!