By Tim Vack, Modern-Shed General Manager
Now that many of you have become part of the WFH movement, I thought I could help many of you get started and adjust. I have been working from home on and off since becoming an entrepreneur in 1987, with the latest stint being the past 9 years continuously.
I’ll detail in a series of blog posts my tips on #WFH, starting today with being mentally prepared.
Be Mentally Prepared
Now that you are either faced with working from home by no choice of your own or are desiring to do so and have never done so before, it’s worth it to examine your thoughts on the subject, both positive and negative. Positive thoughts around WFH might include:
- No more commuting
- No more parking hassles
- No more daily make-up or getting ready for work
- Saving money on child care, parking, gas, eating out
Or the thoughts might be more subjective such as:
- I get to wear my pajamas to work
- I don’t have to see that person at work I don’t get along with
- I can do laundry or other household chores during the week
- I don’t have to work in a cubicle or pre-decorated office space of someone else’s choosing
Just as there are happy thoughts, there may also be some not-so-happy thoughts, such as:
- I won’t see my friends from work anymore
- I won’t get to eat lunch at those great places near work
- I enjoyed the “me time” during my commute, by reflecting or listening to music, books or the news.
I am more of an extrovert than an introvert, so I understand these less than positive thoughts. Being alone is probably both the best and worst thing about working from home (more on working from home with kids in another blog post from Modern-Shed dealer Jeff Bergerson, who has three kids at home!).
Being alone allows better focus, typically less distractions from people and can allow you to tailor your environment to what you want. At the same time, being alone or separated from colleagues can be challenging. It is more difficult to just go chat with someone about an idea you have or to get a quick approval on something or a input on a topic from a co-worker.
Working alone from home requires a text, phone call or email to do these things which typically means wait time, because unlike being in person, you cannot see the person to see if they are busy or not available for a quick interruption. Being alone also can mean quiet … sometimes too quiet. I remind myself to turn on some background sound/music.
Working from home also means you don’t see people out and about on a commute, or at lunch or on the way to a meeting etc., especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once we are able, it is important to get out of the “office” occasionally. I recommend going out to lunch with a friend or colleague if possible, at least once a week if not more.
For now, it is helpful to go for a short walk if there is a place close by or in your neighborhood where you might see people at a safe distance.
On the plus side, remember:
- Solitude can allow you to stay focused. You may find that you are more productive in 4 or 5 hours than 8 or 9 at work.
- Using technology to stay in touch and see your colleagues is easy. Stay in touch with your “friends” from work by scheduling certain times during the day for Facetime, Skype or video conferencing like Zoom.
- Making your own lunch/food and not going out to fast food or restaurants could lead to more healthy options.
- Being alone also means you can listen to whatever you want, with the device of your choosing and maybe as loud as you want.
The important thing is to get your mind wrapped around the fact that you may be isolated and feel lonely. If you are an introvert, you may be tickled with this idea but if you are an extrovert you might feel anxious about it. Focus on the positives: No more commute, no more having to put on make-up every day, etc. There are tremendous advantages to working from home and all the ones listed above are valid, but some items in the “pros” column could be sneaky distractions.
For example, if you don’t mow the lawn while at work, don’t mow the lawn during your work hours at home – and the mowing of the lawn goes for ALL household chores. One load of laundry could lead to realizing the detergent is almost gone, which leads to browsing on Amazon for more, which leads to additional purchases, and before you know it, the buzzer has gone off and you need to move your clothes to the dryer. There goes your productivity!
For me, the top advantages of working from home are HUGE money and time savings and a much-lowered chance of getting sick or injured from co-workers or commuters during rush hours, which translates into a higher quality of life overall.
The other huge benefit is the potential to be much more efficient and productive with fewer distractions, interruptions, and lengthy, sometimes fruitless meetings, etc.
Good luck on this chapter of your career, working from home! Stay tuned for more from me in our series about Working From Home.
If you are interested in speaking to someone at Modern-Shed about a home office option for you, please visit www.modern-shed.com and download our catalog or go to contact and “find a design professional” and enter your zip code.