For the past three months, after having moved across the country, I’ve been working from home. My employer was kind enough to keep me on, allowing me to live the teleworking lifestyle, for which I am extremely thankful, grateful and fortunate (yes, yes – enough of that). The economy out here isn’t the greatest, with the prairies having been hit extremely hard by a downturn in the agri-oil industries, and this allows me to continue working in a field of my choosing.
There are a few things that I’ve learned, working from home, which help make it work:
1) Have a routine: I still get dressed for work in the same way I would, if I were still going into the office or meeting clients (dress shirt, slacks and all). This gets me into the right frame of mind to actually get things done.
2) Consider internet and cell service: you absolutely need plans that support your work. I had to move to a cell plan with unlimited minutes, or my bill would have been ridiculous (Canada, eh?). Similarly, if you’re running screen sharing applications for meetings, you’ll likely need a much faster internet connection than you may have previously paid for. My 20MBPS home internet connection wasn’t really cutting it.
3) Mitigate silence: quiet is nice in moderation, but it can drive one batty. I’ve become really good friends with Spotify and quite a few podcasts. Generally, I use these as background noise. Strangely, I find they help me focus, rather than being distracting. This has the caveat, that you don’t want distracting music, so you need to be a bit picky. That said, if I hear that promo for DJ Khaled’s “where’d I put the keys” song on Spotify one more time…
4) Leave the house: I find going for a walk, or heading out to the local cafe helps break up the day. Staying home all day is certainly not healthy, from a mental health perspective. You need to come up with a routine which gets you out of the house daily (doubly true if the weather is nice). Try and interact with the world daily, even if it’s just ordering a coffee.
All in all, I’m enjoying working from home. I find I need to find other ways to socialize after work, which has increased my skype and e-mail interactions greatly. It has likely also inspired me to start updating this site again.
Contrary to what you might think, teleworking isn’t all roses. Not taking into account the above factors can certainly make regularly working off-site far less pleasant.