I love my home. My cocoon, my happy place, where I know there’s always lots of wine. But until recently, it wasn’t conducive to work.
In the first weeks (let’s be honest; months) that I worked from home, I sometimes felt the urge to do some laundry, update my Spotify playlists, and create a photo album of my last trip. When in Rome… It’s important to create a workspace for yourself that feels like work. It doesn’t need to be sterile or boring; it just should feel different than the home vibe.
Some hints from our ragged learning curve;
- Have a designated space where you work. If it is part of a room, put up a curtain or some makeshift dividers, to remind spouses, kids, pets, and yes YOU that important stuff is happening in there.
- Make it as quiet as possible. Close doors if possible, preach to the family, and if all else fails, get a decent set of noise-cancelling headphones.
- Use a decent chair. Unless you’re 14, sitting in a crappy seat, or with questionable posture, will affect your health and your attitude.
- Resist the urge to multitask between work and household chores. Sure, it feels great to get home from the office to a clean house (because your alter ego did some vacuuming). But trust me, it’s really hard to transition back and forth from your work to your home persona.
- Go out for lunch (or breakfast or dinner, depending on what crazy hours your boss makes you work). Do NOT eat at your desk. The kitchen will serve fine as a trendy cafe.
- Try to keep regular hours. It can be so easy to create a habit of going into “the office” for a few minutes in the evening (because now it’s only a 17 second commute). Sure, this might need to happen occasionally, but don’t make a habit of it.
Now that I see so many friends working from home while their kids can’t go to school (or daycare), I realize that I REALLY had it easy since I made transition as an empty nester. But even with kids, pets, and a cranky spouse, it’s important to create (and protect) boundaries. Tune in tomorrow for some sage advice (and questionable humor).