Lots of people are posting stuff that makes it seem like they are all super successful home-workers. Most of what they are telling you to do is either a) obvious/common sense or b) really pointless.
I’ve worked from home for ten years. Here are two things you need to stop doing if you really want to crack this working from home thing:
- Stop feeling guilty: so, you’re working from home. So what? Yes, your broadband is fast enough, yes you’ve got the right tech at home, yes you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home. This might seem an odd thing, but when you’re alone at your desk and no-one can see that you’re working it is very easy to feel bad that you’re so lucky and feeling guilty makes you want to demonstrate to your colleagues that you are actually working. So you send unnecessary emails or Slack messages. You give updates when you don’t need to and you highlight to social media or anyone else who will listen just how productive you’re being. This guilt gets worse when you realise that actually you might be more productive at home, in other words you’re getting stuff done sooner and that leaves you with time to do other things that you wouldn’t actually get the time to do. Get over it and just do your job. Which leads me to the second thing:
- Give yourself a break: the pressure to be productive above and beyond what you would normally deliver can be acute when you work from home – just to prove that you are actually working. Just don’t go there. Seriously, think about it. When you’re in the office your work gets interrupted by meetings, questions from colleagues and managers, stuff being delivered, getting paperwork out the door, enquiries or phone calls. What makes you think working from home is any different. Remember what I said last week: wherever you work is a work environment. In other words, your work will still get interrupted, there will be things that get in the way of deadlines. This is just the reality of life. It doesn’t matter that at home your interruptions might be your children, the post man, workmen or others – they are all a part of this new work environment. If you don’t believe me, then read Aisha Ahmad’s excellent piece on this and you will be convinced!
The best thing that you can do from your desk at home is simply get on and do the job. If you do get time to do other things because you’re getting stuff done sooner, then that’s great! Its called a work-life balance, which is so very important. Working from home can be challenging, difficult, enjoyable and rewarding. Just make sure you’re not making it harder yourself.