How to Survive Working From Home
Hi! I’m Kat Lim-Dermott and I’m a good friend of the ladies of Pace Success Coaching. I’ve dipped my toes in a number of fields over the years, including working in corporate email marketing for the past 3 years. I’m truly excited to be a guest blogger for this community.
How To Survive Working From Home…
…if you like people.
Survive? Working from home? It may sound like I am being dramatic. When people think of working from home, it’s usually a grand vision filled with all-day sweatpants, time for fresh meal preps and a quiet, relaxing home environment! While all those things are true, there is something challenging to perfecting the right schedule for working from home.
I have been working solely from home for almost two years. When my husband and I decided to move, I was lucky enough to work for a company that allowed me to move from working mainly out of the Charlotte office to my own home office in Pittsburgh. I’ll be honest, I was excited to be able to work in yoga pants all day, but another part of me was a little worried about regulating my hours and cooping myself up in a house alone without coworkers to break up the day. I (and many online quizzes) brand me as an extroverted introvert. This means I enjoy my quiet time but LOVE being around people. This doesn’t mean eight hours interacting with people, just being in the presence of others.
The first few months were rough. I found myself feeling a little lonely and missing out on the social aspects of work (FOMO-ing hard, as the kids call it these days). I also realized I did not do well at regulating my hours. I would start work as soon as I got up and then work into the night, not realizing what time it was until I noticed the computer screen glow was the only light left in the room. The time I thought I would have to make fresh salads was rushed with me running downstairs to grab something and then returning to work. A part of me felt almost guilty for taking the extra time to make a meal.
I am ashamed to say it did take me over the year mark to realize I needed to really buckle down and set a better, more livable schedule.
Here are my top three tips from what I’ve learned:
Set up YOUR space.
Similar to how you would make your office space feel inspirational and comfortable while you work, your home office should feel the same. It is important to designate a specific main space where you will be working. It is easy to stay in bed or pop open the laptop on the comfy couch, and that is fine from time to time as long as you keep your work in it’s space the majority of the time. The problem with not having a designated space is you begin to associate work with your personal space. Work should be separate. Your personal space is your safe space. Having a work space also helps prevent you from overworking if you don’t cart your laptop throughout the house.
Working in an office surrounded by people while I work on projects alone is my type of environment. When I started working at home, I realized if I had no meetings that day, the only people I would have talked to all day were my animals. And while I love my fur-babies, they weren’t giving me much back. My solution: coffee shops! I used Yelp to find all the coffee shops around me and ones that people have rated highly. From there, I started coffee shop hopping. It was a win-win. I got myself out of the house, treated myself to a delicious cup of coffee and surrounded myself with people. The background noise of just having people around me was enough to suppress feelings of solitude. If coffee shops aren’t your thing, try a library or a co-working space. Co-working spaces are popping up in more and more cities, but be aware that there is usually a monthly charge. I looked into a few spaces, but coffee shops allowed me the freedom to change up my environment often.
Break up the week with regular evening plans or work with a friend.
This goes along with the previous point. I make it a point to have at least one evening plan a week and to work with my friend (who also works from home) once a week. It allows me to break up the usual solo routine and be social. This has become an extremely important part of working from home for me. While my company has an online messenger, I am a child of the 80s-90s, and I remember interaction before the internet. It will never replace human interaction!
Do you work from home? Share YOUR tips for working at home in the comment section below!