Monday, April 7, 2014

Semi-Pro Tips: Working from Home.

I don't do much yappin' about my work-life on this ol' blog. Here's the run down: I work in public relations: a field that I am super interested in, have years of experience in, and kind of really love. I am lucky enough to work 40+ hours a week from the comfort of my own home.

Now, before you think I sit on my couch watching movies all day and pretending it's work, let me tell you...there are days where I don't have much time to run downstairs to heat up soup for lunch let alone lay around on my bed. I got my first taste of working from home (aside from the occasional sick day or something) when I began freelancing in 2012. After years at a PR agency I switch to an administrative job at an industrial IT firm. I hated the admin job so, so much so I started freelancing PR/marketing/event planning on the side. I quickly made it my full-time job and was working from home constantly. 
So here, after about two years of trial and error, are some of my bumbling quick tips for working from home.

1.) Have a dedicated space for your work. At first, still living at our condo, I was working at a small desk in our living room. When we began looking for a house I knew I wanted my own office. For me, especially with client calls and what not, it is vital to have a quiet space where I can work uninterrupted. I've never been someone who can just sit on the couch with a laptop on my lap--I need an organized space to get shit done.
2.) Make sure there's an obvious separation. On the same note of having a specific space for work I think it is absolutely crucial to remember that work and personal are separate when you're home all day. Since there isn't a commute time during which to reflect on the day and decompress it can be insanely easy to take a stressful workday and turn it into a crabby home night. About a year ago I started forcing myself to take at least five minutes at the end of every work day to decompress before making dinner or hanging with Rhyno. Take a quick walk outside, do a few yoga poses, watch a funny cat video--do something every day that signifies "Work is over, my personal life is starting." On the same tip, in the mornings I operate the way I would if I didn't work from home. I am in my office by 8am without many exceptions.

3.) Communication is key. Since I'm not in the same office as my co-workers I try to stay insanely available via all means of communication during the day--email, phone, and instant message. I know some people that work from home who have no problem ducking out for an hour or so without letting anyone know. I'm too paranoid for that and I know if I ever tried it that would be the one hour where everyone needed me. If I have an appointment or need to be out in the middle of the day I try to act the same as I would if I were in the same office as my boss--keep open communication and let them know the situation.

4.) Avoid distractions. When I first started working from home the most difficult thing for me was getting my mind off of chores that needed to be done. I would begin writing a press release and think, "I should start the laundry...well since I did that I'll just quickly wipe down the bathrooms....okay I'll just scoop the litter box and then back to work." No. I wouldn't drive home from my agency to scoop the cat box and then drive back to work would I? Every night before bed I try to make sure anything that will distract me is taken care of and if not? Tough. It'll have to wait until work is over (for a neat freak like myself, this is killer). I shut the door to my office and ignore it until 5pm.

5.) Get out! Want a good recipe for instant cranky insanity? Work from home and then stay home all weekend. Every week. Forever. You'll resent it quickly. Rhyno and I are total homebodies but since I work from home full time now we make a huge effort to get out at least 4 times a week--a long walk, a trip to the mall, dinner at a local diner, bike rides along the river by our house, bonfires at a friend's house. I am not a hermit enough to be content being cooped up all the dang time. Get out, get fresh air, and enjoy time away from your "office"!

Do you work from home? Any good tips?


  1. Hey there! It's Nora Keane - I read your blog from time to time :) I grew up with my Dad working from home - he had a full office in our basement. Number one rule was to NEVER bug him unless it was his lunch break! One of his "tips" or habits that he always stuck to - he would ALWAYS get dressed in a full suit - even though he wouldn't leave the house. He said it always put him in the "work mode". haha! Thought I'd share!

  2. That's a great tip, Nora! I don't get super dressed up but I do make sure to look presentable every day--mostly because I have this fear that at the last minute someone is going to say I need to hop on a video chat with a client!


You look so pretty today.