When Working at the Office Isn’t an Option
For someone who works a regular nine-to-five, shifting to working from home (or in this case my parent’s home) can be a big adjustment. It’s a complete change in scenery, a break from routine, and can end up throwing your productivity out of whack if you’re not careful. In January, I spent a week and a half care-giving for my parents while my mom recovered from a surgery. I wrangled three dogs, did laundry, cleaned kitchens, sorted closets, and shoveled driveways. In between all that, I had deadlines to hit, phone calls to make, and projects to manage. What an adventure! Here are a few of the things I did to keep my head on straight and things moving forward.
- Write a list
- I had two main lists going for all the things I needed to bring with me. The first was a hardware list. I drove up with my desktop PC, my 22HD cintiq and monitor arm, extra long ethernet cables, a heated blanket and an office chair. I was officially establishing the Duluth branch of CRASH+SUES.
- My second list was projects. I was lucky to have a lighter week, but there were still projects wrapping up as well as a giant pile of internal marketing materials that we’d been putting off for the past few months. I figured now would be as good a time as any to chip away at them.
- Be realistic
- It’s important to be honest with yourself and your coworkers about how much time it will take to get things done. If anything, overestimate and deliver ahead of schedule rather than underestimate and have someone tapping their foot or over-promising clients. In my case it was a family need that had called me away from the office so I had to adjust a lot of my schedule and workload in order to be there for my mom.
- Communication is Key
- Communication is a two way street. Tools like Slack, Google Chat and of course email are all going to be useful for teams to communicate when one of them is gone from the office. In today’s age, it’s important to use these things to our advantage.
- If all else fails, just hop on the phone and talk through it. Some things are too wordy or lengthy to write out, bosses might not have time to send an email or clients are away from their desks. Things happen and often time the path of least resistance is the best option.
- Be Flexible
- Things come up. Plans change. Clients need things right now. It was a balancing act trying to work out home needs with work needs and required flexibility on both sides. I kept my phone close in case something came up and did my best to just “go with the flow” as needs arose.
Do you have any tips for working out of the office? We’d love to hear them!