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Working from Home, Not as Easy as It Sounds

So, you are now working from home. How great, you don’t have to go to the office!

As someone who has worked from a home office the last 20 years, it is more difficult than you might think. Here are some lies you will tell yourself and ‘lessons learned’ from years of experience.

I can work on the dining room table, that will allow me to spread out and have more work space.

It might seem nice to have everything close to you when working, especially the kitchen for snack time! But…working from home might tempt you to eat more than you did at the office.

You might also think that you can keep an eye on the kids playing, or the dog. You can, you are right. And that is called getting distracted from a task at hand.

Set up your work space in a separate area of the house where the TV and distractions are not in your sight line. To focus on the work at hand, being in a quieter place in the house is a necessity. Also, this will allow you to be more comfortable on conference calls and not fearful of someone walking behind you or talking to you as they walk by.

I can multi-task while at home working

You may think you can throw in a load of laundry or quickly do the dishes while you work.

When you do those ‘quick’ chores, you get distracted. Once you walk to the laundry room you have given yourself opportunity to check on other distractions in your house such as: folding the laundry that was in the dryer, playing with the dog, and getting distracted by the news coverage on TV. Oops, now 30 minutes of your day are lost.

Keep your focus only on work, do not let those household distractions steal your time. If you were at work, that laundry would not get done and you would not have the TV on to distract you.

Keep your work ethic and space the same as it was in your office. Because….you ARE in your office.

I can sleep in because I don’t have to commute

Yea for you! No traffic jams! Except for maybe the dog or toys in the hallway.

The first challenge for most ‘work from home’ professionals is to think your schedule should/could change because you don’t have to commute to work. Keeping your same schedule as if you were getting in the car and driving to an office is critical. Consistent schedules are good for our body rhythms and mental capacity. Staying on your regular schedule will help keep you in sync with your environment. If you don’t keep these schedules, it will become harder to focus and you might even see an increase in hunger.

No one will know if I am in my PJ’s

Those fuzzy pajama’s are so comfortable and the slippers make it even better. So, what is the harm if I am in them until 10am? No one will know…right?!?!? They may not, but you will.

Your ‘casual’ dress adds to a casual feeling which will be displayed in your interactions. Over the years I have tested the importance of dressing for work, even though I am the only one who will see me. I found that my attitude and aptitude are both impacted by how I feel. I feel at my best and more professional when I am dressing the part. Don’t allow comfortable clothes make you a comfortable communicator because those you are speaking with will be the recipient of your unintended ineffectiveness.

Even though I have worked from a home office the last 20 years, I do still struggle at times with all of these tips. Working from home takes discipline and self-motivation. It is helpful to do an assessment at the end of each day and again on Friday afternoon to confirm you did the best work possible during your ‘work’ hours while in your home.

If you have a great tip for your fellow new remote worker, please share it below.

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