One of my dear friends in Chicago just began working from home for the first time in her career because her office is being remodeled. Liz, welcome to the land of pajamas, flexible hours, and isolation. Working remotely, virtually, from home, whatever you want to call it is different. There’s no getting around it and in Healthcare IT, there are still challenges that come along with the benefits.
For a few positive thoughts about remote work arrangements, check out this great post by my colleague Derek Garrison. I agree with Derek about the cost savings and productivity benefits that remote work perpetuates. I began working from home in 2010 in conjunction with relocation to Chicago, followed by a brief and heinous period back in an office, and (thank goodness) have been back in the home office since the beginning of the year. The following are a few tips from yours truly for successful days as a work-from-homie.
Pet Peeves – Take care of your pet peeves, but do not get sucked into big projects. I have heard this from multiple folks who have tried working from home, “I went to put in a load of laundry and cleaned the whole house.” I completely understand because a sink full of dirty dishes bugs me! Take care of the little things like putting the dishes into the dishwasher or washing them up quickly, but tell yourself, “no” when you start cleaning out your cupboard and getting rid of the 17 gravy boats that estranged aunts and uncles gave as bad wedding gifts. The little chores are the ones that taunt us throughout the day, so go ahead and take care of that one load of laundry, full trash can, or the dishes.
Reallocating Time – I have been guilty of this particular one multiple times as well especially when I first started working from home; I would absolutely lock myself in my office because it was the “work day.” However, what one must realize is that when one is home, one may work whenever and perhaps must work off hours to compensate for time zone changes. It’s OK to work some funky hours and you might be better at your job! I happen to be a night owl and am less productive in the afternoon than I am in the evening and as a recruiter, my job is not an 8 to 5 kind of gig. I work all morning, take my afternoon break and then begin working again around 6 pm. It works famously.
Matt Lauer is so Cute – TV is the enemy! Turn it off! You’ll never get enough done even if you lie to yourself and say it’s “background noise.”
Take a Break for Heaven’s Sake – This is the most important tip of all that I can give. Take a break! If you really must have Matt Lauer and The Today Show in your life, record it and watch over one of your breaks. I find taking a walk outside and getting some air is most helpful when working at home. Heading to a coffee shop for a little caffeine and humanity is nice, too. You would take these breaks at the office too for Starbucks, lunch, and general water cooler chatter, so implement in your home office as well. I have other work from home buddies who head to lunchtime yoga or head out to the deck for some sunshine. Nice.
Ok, dear readership, I’m headed back to work . . . in my pajamas of course.