I get a little stir crazy when I work from home.
Recently, I was laid up with a hip injury (What? I'm 31.) and worked from home for just 2 days. After a weekend doing freelance and volunteer work from home, I felt compelled to come at this the right way, so that I would have a better chance of keeping up with a tight schedule and lots of deliverables. I'd worked from home when I was at a startup last year, and know I had some pitfalls like distractions, eating too many snacks or never shutting my computer off and stepping away from work.
The good news is, I was able to streamline things and may have actually gotten more solo work at home than I do at the office. Working from home cuts out much of the day-to-day office minutes I usually spend; communting is #1, also chatting, going to the coffee shop, getting lunch, running errands, hitting up the farmers market. I do try to make a little time for work pleasantries - each time I talk to someone new that day, asking how they are, chatting briefly about non-work.
Part of the joy of working from home is flexibility - being able to run an errand or head to a doctor's appointment at the drop of a hat. Or being able to wake up at 8:15 and work in your PJs for 2 hours. But it's all about achieving a balance between flexibility and structure that will help you shine. A few things I gleaned from working from home this time, and over the past 8 years.
1. Don't check all of your email all of the time. Make time for it throughout the day. Don't react each time one comes in.
2. Keep calls short and sweet. Unless you're brainstorming. No one wants to be on the phone for 30 minutes at a time each time you talk.
3. Sit in a comfy chair. Get up and walk (at least around the room) a few times an hour.
4. Headphones are great for conference calls, but only if they work. Keep a spare pair of headphones around for instances that they fail.
5. Hydrate!! If you're drinking tons of water, you'll be less likely to snack on all of the delicious things in your kitchen.
6. Don't forget to have delicious things in your kitchen. It is an awesome thing to be able to take 15 minutes and make yourself a scrumptious homemade lunch, vs. running out everytime and getting whatever is closest/fastest/cheapest. (For us, that would mean tacos and Korean, but who needs to drop the cash everyday?)
7. Be available. Relentlessly available. If you're not at your computer because you're making cocoa or running an errand, check in on all channels when you return.
8. Know thyself. Know thy distractions, thy strengths and thy weaknesses. Build a routine that is flexible, but gives structure to your day. Stick to routine (when you can.)
9. Keep your workspace clean. Nothing worse than feeling like your home life is encroaching on your work life. Piles of papers and yesterday's mail shouldn't take prime real estate in your desk area.
10. Pets love when you're home. They just love it.
I'd love to know about your experience working from home. Do you jive on a particular playlist? Do you work on your kitchen floor? How do you make yourself the most productive version of yourself at home?