In this season of unsettledness, embrace the opportunity to work from home if it comes your way. For two decades, Karen Elliott Greisdorf, Director of Communications for the Massachusetts Communities Action Network, worked from the corner office in her home basement. Now that she’s made it to a second-floor suite accented by natural light (a.k.a. her happy place), she offers four jammed pack points to help you harness your day in the name of productivity and purpose during this time of transition for many.
Tame Your Time, Don’t Take Your Time
With your commute now measured in minutes, rather than miles, it can be tempting to relax at home, but you’ll be glad when you return to the office if you keep your pre-work morning routine as is. Wake up at the same time, work out, eat breakfast; whatever you’ve been doing, stick with it. Make a schedule for your workday - online meetings, solo project work, lunch, calls, professional reading. It might be tempting to throw in laundry or prep for dinner, but repurpose your end of day commute time for those household to-dos.
A word on scheduling and planning for lunch. It’s helpful to be intentional and have the best food for yourself on hand, so that you don’t find yourself trolling the back of your fridge in a dash, particularly if you get caught up in the work. Your kitchen is also now your break room, so treat yourself to a new tea or two or java brew to have on hand.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
In our homes, we lounge on a couch and we sleep in a bed as we literally make ourselves at home. In the term home office, the emphasis is on office, so find a comfortable chair to work in and a location that has the right noise level. (If you are used to a bustling workplace, you might want to think about how a quiet home will impact your work-style.) Remember to move around with prompting from your Fit Bit or a timer on your computer or phone. Time can pass by when there aren’t other people to interact with or natural shifts like getting up to go to a meeting. Going for a walk is another way to repurpose your commute time. When is it okay to embrace your inner homebody? With a pair of comfy slippers that are always off-camera for online calls.
Get Ready For Your Close-Up
Colleagues, clients, or consultants are likely going to know you are working from home at this time, but a little effort to stage your video conference setting can go a long way. If not at a desk, sit at a surface where your computer or phone camera is stable. On a phone, be sure it is hands-free and in landscape mode. Check the shot in advance and be mindful of your surroundings and backdrop; check for stray dishes, papers or even laundry on the couch in the distance behind you. Minimize background noise and have good lighting in front of you i.e. don’t back up to a window.
Take A Look In The Mirror
Working from home represents a change in environments and inputs. Can you learn something about your work-style with this dedicated season in your office of one? Receive this as a gift of time and when you return to the office, consider if there are any adjustments you can make there based on what you learned from your hiatus at home.