I remember the first day at home like it was yesterday. What I thought would be pure excitement and joy was disorganization, craziness and sadness. Join me as I walk down memory lane and share my day in my Home office.
More and more people are working from home these days. Either offices are closing and employees are set up to work virtually, employees are completely laid off or people are taking a leap of faith and deciding to run a business on their own from home.
No matter what the reason is, I can honestly tell you that working from home can not only be more challenging than what many of us think. It can really take a toll on your emotions. My home office was gorgeous but that entire first day was just………….. weird.
For 10 years before 2014, I had been working towards having my Home Office. It was my dream to work from home. I often wondered how people who worked from home actually got things done when the real housewives are on in the living room, a fridge and a coffee maker at an arms length and there all kinds of other things to do that would be fun other than work. Now I knew working my business from home would be fun, but you know as well as I do, in any business, we procrastinate the things we don’t love to do. That is common.
Yet, ……. (grinning from ear to ear) surely I could manage rather than pack my bag, lunch, the puppies and anything else that I would have to cart back and forth to accomplish. Oh and let’s not talk about the traffic. 30-40 minutes back and forth each day after 15 minutes of packing the car, puppies, bags and paperwork, would clearly show to be more hectic than getting up and working from my pajamas right?
Well when I list out those things and you can replace puppies with your kids. I was one of the lucky ones who got to bring my dogs to work. You definitely can see that working from home would be much better but I figured out very quickly that getting on track and working productively was not going to be an easy task.
It was very hard to know what I should be doing. You’d think, I would just walk to my office and things would fall into place, but that certainly wasn’t the case. Now I know all you Corporate Executives are ready to say, “oh please, real hard life.” , but if anything use this blog post as a way to prepare your self, your work area and your emotions for the day when you are on Day 1 of working your business with no one to answer to and having to take full responsibility for whether you fail or succeed.
Making a Smooth Transition into your Home Office
Now for some of you, this first tip may not even pertain to you but for me, it really hit me more than I thought it would. I missed people. What I thought would be an easy, “OK, see ya later.” turned into a week of tears and goodbyes that were hard to say. Be prepared. Make sure you make it a point to keep in touch, log into Skype or Facebook and definitely plan lunch or dinner dates. Not only make those dates and plans, but keep them. I was at my job for 14 years. Those people were my family. Make sure they know that although you might not have coffee together that they played a very important part of you life.
Create a Productive Work Space:
Most Corporate offices are created so that you only focus on getting your job done. At home, I have set up my office so that its comfortable and cozy and makes me want to work, or so I thought. Remember your home is where you have probably gone to forget about work and now you have to work in the space where normally you went to forget. I am sure, as is in my house, there is plenty to get done. ie: laundry, cleaning, dusting etc. You have got to get set up so that you can be productive and know how to turn the switch on and off. Create an office that you will like to be in. I took the last month to really think about where I would sit, what I would need and how to have things so they were uncluttered and welcoming. You will want to make sure your Home office is free of distraction and clutter free. Think about your equipment such as your printer, chair, desk, your camera and of course your office supplies.
Remember you can get up and leave:
Don’t forget that although you have a great office now with a window and great equipment, you can get up and leave. On my first day in my office, I never left my desk. I totally forgot that there is no one to tell me to stay in my seat and turn in the report by 5 pm. You can work from all kinds of spaces. Grab a laptop, head to Starbucks or any cafe just for some fresh air and exercise. I give you permission to go.
Set a schedule and stay with it:
You need to set a work schedule for yourself and be disciplined about keeping it. Don’t fall prey to the procrastination monster. Although you have weeks to meet a deadline or get something done, you will just keep pushing things back and back. Read, “Who ate my frog” and get stuff done. Work hard and work fast. This will keep this monster away. A schedule will keep you from being stressed out. I put a big dry erase board right beside me and vowed to write down everything I needed to get done on it each day. Seeing this list in big bold black letters helps me accomplish everything that is top priority. Once I finish this list, I feel good and won’t feel guilty about going for that pedicure in the evening or meeting a friend for a glass of wine. You need YOU time. It will keep you happy and grateful.
You got to get moving. Start and exercise plan:
We are all suppose to be getting exercise whether we work at home or not but NOW we need to make it more of a priority. Guess what everyone, we aren’t walking to the car, the cubicle, the office, human resources. We are going to get more and more unhealthy and sedentary. I easily saw how that could happen on my first week at home. One more thing to add to my craziness sad emotions. The thought of gaining weight or being unhealthy? Oh nooooooo. Time to get up and move. I started the very next week adding a walk or jog in the morning with my puppies to start my day. I knew my head will be more clear and I was surely more motivated to work.
Dress for Success:
We all know we joke about working from our pajamas, and although I did do it today, I can already tell that not getting dressed will make me too laid back. Yes, we can lean back, sit on the coach, take a break when we want to but we all need to remember not to get too comfortable working alone that we forget to keep up on ourselves. Our team wants to see us on webinars looking our best. You might have your own y Home office, but it doesn’t mean you should look frumpy. You should at the very least be branded, face washed and looking presentable. If for not other reason but to feel like you are taking your job seriously and help with the productivity level. I have now made a list and I will start a fitness regimen along with a routine of getting up, getting dressed and feeling great. We have to remember to remain professional. Act professional and especially feel professional. I am not saying a skirt and top every day but we must make it a goal that even though we are home, we need to remind ourselves and others that we are still running a business.
Plan your Lunch:
Oh yes, I figured that out today. If I don’t plan my lunch, it will certainly plan for me. This too will take a toll on your health and weight. So tomorrow will start with a trip to the grocery store to plan my meals for the week. Driving through those fast food drive thru will NOT be happening. 🙂 You may have your own Home Office but time to plan our your Scentsy Home Lunch. 🙂
Turn it off:
Yes remember unplug from email and Facebook. Don’t engage in all your email and social media tooo much during the day to the point where you are unproductive. It was really easy today to hear the constant dinging on FB today and know people were trying to talk to me. Check email twice a day. 12 and 4 usually are the best for me. That way you don’t get sucked into email in the morning, yet your box is clear before you end for the night.
Work Hours and Deadlines
Set Home Office hours: 9am to 5pm, 5am to 1pm, 6pm to 2am, it doesn’t really matter when as long as you set your times according to what goes on in your life. The important thing is that you set work hours, both for yourself – you only work during these hours – and for others, so that your customers and team know when they can reach out to you.
Some You Time. Don’t forget family and friends:
Don’t become a social hermit. It happened to me the first month that I worked from home.. I didn’t answer some texts. I just kept working with my team and getting things done. I know a few times I hadn’t spoken to anyone at all and just kept working. Your home office can suck you in. Spend time with your family and friends. Whether it is going somewhere or just grabbing a glass of wine at your house.
You might be able to see what happens with all of this. Treat yourself well, like one of your most valued possessions. Take care of your health, your mind and your relationships and you’ll be able to live your dreams. You have always wanted this. I have always wanted this. My own home office. To think, once upon a time, I thought I could only be successful if I had a corner office and a high rise building and now I look around and think, Wow, I did it, now to keep it, I need to listen to my down advice in this article and be grateful every single day.
I’d love to hear about your Home Office or are you dreaming of one? Come chat with me on Facebook. I want to hear all about your days working from home or maybe how I can help you get to that point.