The Joys and Challenges of Working From Home

Last year, my company launched a work-from-home program (we call it “teleworking”), and I’m absolutely loving it! It’s kind of rare in our industry, from what I can tell, so I feel really blessed to work for a company that offers it. Honestly with the technology we have these days, I think it makes total sense. It’s a trend that has exploded in recent years, and I for one hope it continues because I really think it has the potential to change people’s lives and maybe even change how our society operates. For example, think of all the small towns that could be revived since people who work from home don’t have to live near their company’s offices. For companies, remote working opens up huge new pools of talent because they can recruit from anywhere and are no longer restricted to just the people near their offices or have to pay for relocation. Besides that, there’s also the environmental, health and safety benefits from less people being on the roads or using public transit. Can you tell I’ve given this a lot of thought? 😉

My dad always told me work is not a place, it’s what you do. I think he was ahead of his time, and the rest of the world is finally catching on!

Right now I get to work from home one day a week. I chose Mondays because I don’t usually have visitors or events. So far it’s working out really well. The pup definitely enjoys me being home with her, and seeing her little furry face every five minutes just makes my day!

It’s funny when I talk to people about working from home because everyone seems to fall into one of two camps. Either they absolutely love it and vow they could never go back to working in the office five days a week, or they simply can’t do it because they feel too distracted at home, don’t have the technology they need or prefer to keep a wall between their professional and personal spaces. I think it’s whatever works best for you. I’m just grateful for companies that give their employees the option. I have to say though, I’ve seen far more skeptics convert to remote working than the other way around!

Now that I’ve been working from home on a regular schedule for awhile, I understand so much more about the benefits and challenges, and how to manage both.

Here are some things that work for me and advice I’ve received from friends and family who also work remotely:

  • Have a designated space where you can work without distractions and a door you can close during calls or video chats. I use our home office, and it’s better than my cubicle at work because I have privacy and it’s so quiet.
  • Stick to your morning routine as much as possible and do whatever you need to be your best self. For me, that means taking care of the pup like normal and putting on my contacts and makeup. I may be in stretchy pants all day, but I don’t feel on top of my game unless I do those things.
  • Forward your office phone to your cell phone the day before, so you don’t miss any important calls. Or put your cell phone number in your instant message status, so people know how to reach you directly.
  • Remember to take breaks! It’s interesting how many “micro-breaks” I take at the office that I just never noticed before, like going to another floor to chat with a coworker or even just going to the bathroom. When I’m working from home, sometimes I feel guilty for leaving my desk or on really busy days I may just forget. When I’m in the office, I assume people know I’m working because they see me. But that’s not the case when I’m working from home, so I almost feel like I have more to prove. But studies have shown how important those micro-breaks are, whether you’re working in the office or at home.
  • Buy an adjustable laptop stand, so you can stand up while you work. All you office workers out there know what I mean! Sitting all day and staring at a computer screen is surprisingly exhausting, and it’s really, really bad for you.
  • Make sure you’re familiar with your company’s video conference technology. I work for an international company, so I regularly meet by video conference with my colleagues all over the world. You might even try to intentionally schedule video conferences when you’re working from home, to help you (and your coworkers) get more comfortable with it. Don’t put off meetings or conversations because you’re working remotely. You can do those things just as well from home, if not better! If your company isn’t completely sold on the idea of working remotely, then I think it’s extra important to carry on like normal to show it really does work.
  • Don’t take your computer with you on your lunch break, no matter how convenient or tempting it may be.
  • I don’t have kids, but my family and coworkers who do tell me they send little kids to daycare or with the nanny like any normal day when they work from home. My company has it written in our policy that working from home shouldn’t replace childcare. Luckily, furbabies aren’t as high maintenance. 😉 W. just sleeps by my door all day with the occasional {adorable} request to go outside to potty or sun herself on the porch. ::happy sigh::
  • Last but not least, don’t keep unhealthy snacks in the house because you will eat them all day! This was one of the first lessons I had to learn, and I didn’t see it coming. If there are cookies within walking distance, you better believe I have zero self-discipline.

Working from home has been such a blessing, and it makes me feel like my company actually values me as a person and not just a worker bee. With situations like the coronavirus, I’m especially glad we’re able to work remotely in this day and age.

If you are lucky enough to work from home, even just once a week like me, then I’m sure you have your own tips and tricks that make it work for you. I would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!

Have a great weekend!

Christi

Of course, the best thing about working from home is being with this one! ♥️

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