Author’s Note: This was written pre-shelter-in-place/social distancing guidelines. I know a lot of us are working from home not by choice. I hope if you are the adjustment hasn’t been too great, and you can find some ideas on how to be successful (as well as some humor) below.
We are now entering month three of working from home, and I must say I’m really getting into the groove.
And even better, James is still alive.
When I decided to move home, I wasn’t too sure just how well that would go. After working in offices for basically my entire career, whether my own office or a shared space, I was concerned about not having enough activity around me or getting easily distracted. For heaven’s sake, the refrigerator and couch are RIGHT THERE!!
I could have a snack and a nap!
James has been working from home for so long now I cannot remember when he wasn’t. But I knew this was going to be an adjustment for me, so I reached out to one of the Facebook groups I belong to – Business of Architecture – for some advice.
I knew right off the bat not to work in my pajamas. I’d seen James get ready for work each morning before walking across the hall to start his day. However, one group member noted that she regularly worked in her jammies, did laundry, picked up kids, etc. But that works for her ADD, and I’m not sure that would work for me – although having my fuzzy slippers on instead of shoes is not uncommon.
The need for having a dedicated space was also something that was already ingrained. I had heard over the years from several people that to work successfully you needed a room in the house where you could go in and shut the door. No kids coming in and out. No disruption from other activity. And often I do just that, especially when James hops on a conference call. Hard enough wrangling with the voices in my own head without adding a few more on a speaker phone.
One member suggested trying to schedule all of your meetings on the same day so you have fewer travel interruptions during the week. Having had three separate meetings this week on three separate days, I’m completely getting the appeal of that. Yet there is a part of me that does like to get out of the house a little bit, especially if the weather’s nice. Something about being in the sun instead of looking at it through a window.
Which brings me to my favorite piece of advice – make sure to be social. Something I knew but didn’t realize how important that was until James’ last business trip.
James spent a week in Manila working with one of his project teams. And I had the house to myself for an entire week.
An entire week.
And I didn’t realize how much having him here made a difference. Sure, the dog deigned to sleep in my office, so I wasn’t without company. But most days James and I are eating lunch together and popping our heads into each other’s offices to see how the day is going. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but apparently just that little bit makes a difference.
As I found out at dinner the Friday before he returned, when I turned into Ms. Chatty Cathy. I’m sure my dinner mates were wondering just what the heck was going on. And wondering as well when I was going to shut up.
But he’s home again and life is returning to normal. And I continue to adjust. Having a group of similar souls out there to reach out to for advice has definitely been a help.
Which means a week into month three, I’m not ready to snap.
At least not yet.