Cloud Constraints: Relieving the Pressures Working at Home Creates

June 22, 2011 by  

This is only the second guest post we have had here on The Anywhere Office. I was delighted when Ripley Daniels approached me about writing this for the blog. As someone who has been working virtual for years and now works with a company that is completely remote she has some great lessons learned to share about making the shift to virtual work.

I was just talking with someone the other day about when I first started working primarily from my home office.  The adjustment period took at least 6 months for me to find my workflow and adjust to my space (or adjust my space to my work).  Ripley shares some essential strategies here to help make the transition easier.

Thanks for the great article Ripley . . . take it away . . .

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Being a telecommuter may seem like a dream come true but there are often many aspects of working from home that can cause tension, stress and even depression. For most people, transitioning from an office environment to a home office is both daunting and difficult. The office environment facilitates a social setting where you interact with your co-workers throughout the day. Working from home immediately limits your opportunity to socialize and at times can create a sense of isolation that can be hard to adjust to. Another possible change you will undergo is balancing your work and home life. This can be extremely challenging as working from home blurs the lines.

In order to get the most out of your telecommuting experience, it’s important to have a strategy. Here are some simple steps to help relieve the pressure and tension that working at home might create:

  1. Create a specific work space. There is nothing more distracting than trying to work in front of the television or in a common area where the children might be playing or your spouse might be on the phone. If possible, turn a guest room into a home office where you can set up a desk, computer and other office supplies as well as where you can hold conference calls and teleconference calls without any distractions or disruptions. If you do not have an additional room or space, designate a space at your kitchen or dining room table so that you will not be tempted to work in front of your television set. Also, make sure to keep your space tidy and neat so that you can find any paperwork, projects or reports when needed. You don’t want to mix your work papers and information with bills, school projects and other personal items.
  2. Figure out a work schedule. One of the biggest hassles when it comes to telecommuting is maintaining diligence and discipline. Although you are not tied to a clock like you might have been in an office environment, you are still responsible for getting your work done in a timely manner and being available for meetings or conference calls. You don’t want to ever appear unprofessional so pick a normal work schedule i.e. 8-5pm or 9-6pm so that you can get as much work done during the day time which will free up the evenings to spend time with friends and family as well as personal time to decompress and relax.
  3. Leave work at work. In the past, this was an easy thing to do since work was at an office and you left it behind the second you headed home. Now that you work from home, this can be an easy mistake that can cost you and your family happiness and a sense of normalcy. As soon as your work day is over, get up from your desk or work space, shut off the computer, turn off the work phone and leave it all behind until the next work day. Be sure to spend time doing the things you love such as; working out, gardening, cooking, going to the movies, meeting friends for drinks or just watching television with your family. You will be more productive and be able to maintain a sense of organization when you implement this simple step.
  4. Take scheduled breaks throughout the day. When working in an office environment, there are several scheduled and unscheduled breaks that one takes which helps break the monotony and gives you a quick breather. Working from home may seem like one long break as there are no co-workers or supervisors visiting your desk or demanding anything of you but you will still need to push away from your desk and give yourself a minute to clear your mind. Step outside and get some fresh air, go run an errand or just make a quick leisure call to a friend. These types of breaks really help round out your work day so that you don’t wind up feeling like you’re chained to your desk from morning till night.
  5. Avoid working on the weekends. Working from home allows you a lot of freedom but it can also seem like a prison sentence since you are not getting out and about like you used to. That’s where the weekends come in. You need to utilize your weekends to the fullest by getting out and joining groups that interest you. Find organizations that cater to the types of activities you love. Schedule time with friends and family so that you are spending all of your weekends having fun rather than slaving away at your computer. Even though working from home allows you the opportunity to work seven days a week, is it really a healthy option? No. That’s why you need to treat your weekends the exact same way you did when you worked in an office setting.

Ripley Daniels is an editor at Without The Stress, which assists citizens by simplifying government-related tasks. Ripley writes about subjects dealing with passports, work visas, and many other topics.

  • Anonymous

    The advantage of a virtual office
    space when you’re just starting out is the type of image it can help you
    project to your potential customers. Whatever others may say, it is important
    that you have a dedicated phone and fax number that can be traced to a physical
    location other than your own home. This assures potential customers that the
    business is really legitimate and will remove doubts in their minds about
    investing or purchasing your products and services
     

    Serviced Offices Melbourne

    • I agree there are many advantages of having a “physical” virtual office however you can have a phone & fax number that are not tied to your home.  I use a virtual fax number from Trust fax (http://www.trustfax.com) as well as a Google Voice number as my business number.  Neither of these are “tied” to my home address.  They provide me the mobility I need without a fixed location.

  • Phil,

    I found Ripleys article to be very good. I only wish I had seen it prior to working from home in 2008-2009. I thoroughly enjoyed my telework experience, but I had to stumble through the experience and figure things out on the fly as I moved along. My personal most important lesson was to make sure I found some personal space in my home, and closed the door when I had to. Working from home can be very fulfilling, but it does require some discipline and some boundaries to be made within the family. That was initially awkward with my wife and I, but eventually it became second nature. Thanks for the great site and all the info.

    • I totally agree Andy. I, like you and many others, would have benefited from Ripley’s experience when I first made the transition to working from my home office over 20 years ago. It does take time to make the shift but eventually you find what works.

      Having a work space where you can close the door to focus or have quiet for phone calls is very important as is setting boundaries and having that conversation with family and friends so they understand that you are “working” even though you are home.

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  • There are some excellent points made. Working at home is not the dream life many picture and it is not for everyone. I enjoy working for home, but working at home is definitely work.