With the rise of the interwebs, working from home – aka teleworking, aka pantsless-computing – is becoming an increasingly popular option for employers and employees alike. Not only are employees generally happier because they don’t have to sit next to the microwave where Gary burns the popcorn EVERY DAMN TIME, but employees get to save on things like space and motivational posters:
I’ve been teleworking for about a year, and it’s fantastic. But, like most things in life, it has its ups and downs. Productivity is important, and employment is even more important, so here are some tips and tricks to make your telework transition as smooth as possible.
First of all, you will need a work-space separate from the general living area. Unless, of course, you live alone. For me, I initially had to set up away from the everyday hubbub that comes with a two year old and a four year old waging war on one another and their toys. Since I haven’t figured out how to make money off mediocrity yet, I had to set mine up in our bedroom where I could bar the door against the mini-horde of children plotting my doom.
Now that your desk is set up in a low traffic area, it’s time to get down to business. The first few days at home might take a little getting used to, but eventually the lack of annoying chatter from your coworkers coupled with the morale boost that comes with not sitting in traffic for hours will coalesce into a beautiful tapestry of productivity.
Unless, of course, you decide to just watch Netflix the whole time (and by “watch” I mean “endlessly browse the queue of Netflix”). One of the biggest downfalls of working from home is easy access to all of your in-home entertainment options. If you want to have the TV on in the background, that’s fine. Just don’t make it a show that your are intensely interested in, because then you will spend a majority of your time staring at the wrong screen, which can also lead to a stiff neck if your TV is not directly beside your computer screen. Now, if I have something on TV, it’s usually something that I don’t hate, but I’m also not particularly invested in like ESPN, or whatever the History Channel is peddling as educational nowadays. Mainly though, I just jam Spotify most of the time.
This next one might sound like antithesis to my first point, but I just consider it farther up the skill tree so it requires a higher level to unlock. More recently I have discovered how great it is to be mobile around the house. We are issued a laptop, dock, and two monitors, but lately I’ve been unplugging from the dock and working on the kitchen table, standing at the kitchen counter, sitting on a rocking chair on the porch, and propping my feet up on the couch while getting the job done. This is kind of a gray area when talking about productivity. I had to see if I could still maintain my normal production levels, while exploring new places to work around the house. After a week or two it’s become my new normal, and I love it.
Now that we’ve looked at setup, sidebar entertainment, and level 2 skills, let’s finish by looking at some do’s and do nots for teleworking
• Do create a peaceful work environment. You’ll be spending a lot of time in this spot, so make sure you enjoy being there.
• Don’t make it so peaceful that you fall asleep.
• Do get up and move around from time to time. You’ll be walking even less now that you aren’t in the office. To avoid becoming one of the humans from WALL-E, try to get a moderate amount of movement in your day to day life.
My last point is probably the most important – don’t screw it up. Most telework contracts are conditional on you not being a terrible employee, so make sure your goals are met. If you manage that you can continue working in the nude like God intended.