and how to fight them…
If you know me, even remotely (HA) you probably know that I work pretty much exclusively from home. Most people’s reactions are like “wow you’re so lucky” or “how do you get any work done?” or some variation of the two. Well, first of all, it is pretty sweet and its darn convenient. As for getting work done – I usually work later than required because I never leave my bedroom “office”. However, I do get the “working from home blues” from time to time. Let me explain.
What are the WFH Blues?
Well, when you work from home you tend to get cut off from the rest of the world during the day. When you go into work at an office you see the same team every day. This usually means you have to make small talk or even make some kind of bond with your coworkers. You can get lunch, grab a coffee, or just shoot the breeze when you have time. I am not saying that I would want to go back to the office full-time but it is always nice to have the option. I do get to chit chat with my manager a few times a day (he also works from home full-time). When I work from home I can go days without leaving the homestead and this could cause some feeling of isolation – especially in the dead of winter.
The Opposite End of the Spectrum
Last week I had to go to my company’s headquarters for our annual sales meeting. It was three grueling days of sitting in a board room entrenched in intense discussion. This is overstimulation for me and I tend to not get any work done due to all of the distraction. When you work in an office all the time people tend to develop ways to block out distractions. I think if I went into the office enough I could develop this skill. Again, I would not want this. So I should quit my bitchin’ right? Well yeah…but there’s a better way and there are steps I should be taking but I have not yet made the attempt this year. I suppose this is my way of motivating myself.
How to fight the WFH Blues
I know there are a plethora of articles on this exact topic but I wanted to give my unique take on it. I have been working from home a good amount of time now and I have developed some somewhat healthy habits (and unhealthy ones). I will run down my short list of what I recommend and what I would recommend for working from home.
Go through a morning routine
Always set a waking time and stick to it. Brush your teeth, take a shower, and get dressed as if you were leaving the house
BONUS: If you are an overly ambitious type (I used to be), have a workout routine in the morning. Go for a run or hit the gym before going through your grooming routine. I used to do this and I felt wonderful and my overall productivity was through the roof on days when I did this.
Avoid chores or other distractions
A lot of people know that I work from home and this means they tend to think I am available during the day to do other things. This is not the case. I try to keep a strict 8:30 to 5 schedule. If I were to let everything at home distract me, I could end up having to work much later than needed and this is not a good practice. Always try to let people know that you are not always available while working from home and try to keep a strict work schedule.
Get out of the house
Working from home gives you (in theory) the ability to work from anywhere…anywhere there’s a WiFi connection. At least a couple times a week I like to get to a local coffee shop just to be around people. However, there are some things you may need to think about. Getting out of the house can get you some human contact which in turn fights the “WFH Blues” or more commonly known as “cabin fever”.
Noisy or overly crowded coffee
A lot of coffee shops are overly crowded or playing really loud music which could be intrusive for conference calls. Find a day or two a week that is a “heads down” day in which you do not have conference calls or video calls to throw on some headphones and slurp down some highly-caffeinated beverages.
Slow Internet Speeds
It’s tough to get any work done if you’re at a spot with slow Internet speeds. The first thing I do after I grab my cup of joe and a seat is pop open my browser and head over to speedtest.net and do a quick test. They also have an iOS, Android, and Mac standalone apps. If its anything less than 5MBs per second down, I tend to leave or try to find a “usable” connection.
Find some good music/podcasts
If you are going to be working from home you may want to find yourself a good audio service to subscribe to. Most use either Spotify or Apple Music. I personally love Spotify because of its curated playlists,
My Top Five Favorite podcasts
So that all being said, I love working from home and I wouldn’t trade it for a traditional office job. However, you have to keep it fresh. So, if you start feeling the”WFH Blues” follow my suggestions above. If you are a fellow remote worker, well, first of all, add me on Skype (rmarchetti3), then add any of your suggestions if you have any in the comments section on Linkedin or Facebook. Is it Friday yet?