Who would have thought that one day we would be forced to work from home for two weeks due to what kind of feels like we are living in a zombie apocalypse movie. At first, we all mocked the coronavirus as the beer disease, but now we are keeping a close watch on each other for signs of infection and ready to Lysol grenade anyone coughing too closely.
I have been working from home for awhile now. I have enjoyed the benefits of staying home with my goldendoodle, having a little more flexibility with my schedule and with my attire.
I’ve saved money on gas, saved money and calories on eating out and saved time avoiding a road-rageous commute. Even for an extrovert, working from home has its benefits, but I must caution you. It can be tricky.
As a newby at home, I logged into the meeting five minutes early from my laptop expecting to see maybe a little icon of the company displayed during the call. What I saw instead was a full screen, live image of my bed head, mascara racoon-eyed face. With four minutes to go I sprinted to my bathroom to tame my mane and freshen yesterday’s makeup when I heard a man’s voice from my office calling my name. I sprinted back a bit winded from the unexpected cardio and had to look at him face-to-face with an explanation for my disappearance.
The lesson I want to impart from my mistake is get dressed. You may not be going into the office, but you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Look presentable and keep your surroundings tidy as well. Having a routine and keeping up your appearance gives you an inner confidence that is noticeable even over the phone. Professionalism is necessary wherever you office.
Now that I have been doing this awhile, I can suggest that you get a time tracking app for your computer. When you go into an office you “clock in.” You know that until your lunch break and departure you are being paid for your time.
I used to get a little too carried away with managing my work time and would log out when I needed to use the restroom, grab a water or make coffee. A friend helped me to loosen up while still remaining integrous with my time. I use Harvest to clock in and clock out. When working from home a lot of distractions can come up and Harvest makes it easy to stop and restart the time as often as needed so that I can feel good about the hours I am being paid.
Here is another little piece of advice I can offer if you are suddenly working remotely. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you work alone. I have enjoyed my peers. We email and text necessary content, but we take the time to add encouragements for jobs well done. Sometimes we add a little meme or take a second to a check on each other.
Cultivating relationship with your team is always a good idea. When things get stressful, when deadlines are hanging over your head and you need your team to come through for you, relationship is the collateral that keeps everyone on the same page.
Like the other lessons, I had to learn this one the hard way too. When your office is also your home, make sure you clock out mentally, setting boundaries with your home life and work life.
When I first started remote officing, I never took a day off. Work was always with me and I never felt like I got enough done. Even now, since leaving the house has become something that is highly frowned upon, I find myself feeling like I might as well keep working. I love what I do, but if I am to continue to love it and if I am to continue to be creative, I must clock out mentally from work to give myself a little self-care.
Some days you may feel like you are going to go crazy. You may even find yourself talking to yourself. For now, this is your new norm, but remember to keep the Lysol handy, the toilet paper a-plenty and make the most of this time you are home because, unlike in the movies, it won’t last forever. Health will return, the restaurants will reopen and life in the fast lane will resume.