This time last year, I started working remotely full time. I found it incredibly difficult, especially for the first couple of months – going from working in a busy office full time to a small lonely flat was quite the culture shock…
So what has a year taught me?
Office space IS EVERYTHING
Recently, my spare room was renovated into an office; my new desk now sits under a window overlooking the river, an extra screen was added to the mix, pen pots and notebooks are all readily available, and a shelf is home to some motivational books for when procrastination hits.
When I began home working, I would work from my kitchen/living room which gave me no escape from work – my day would begin and end in that room. No work stress was ever left behind to completely relax in the evening and it was all too easy to answer emails while eating dinner. Having an office space has helped me separate my home life from work – when I have finished for the day, I can shut the door (literally and figuratively!) from work.
Giving myself manageable ‘office hours’ and having a space where everything has been placed to purposefully help with my productivity, has made me so much more focused and happier.
Remote working doesn’t necessarily mean home working
When I first started working remotely, for fear of dodgy internet and losing productive hours, I spent most of my year at home. But throughout the year, I’ve been more comfortable owning my own schedule and more confident in not only the amount of places that have good WiFi, but the tools I’m using to communicate with colleagues. I’ve started working from different places – coffee shops, shared work spaces, and hope, in the future, to join colleagues in other countries in their environments.
It’s sometimes incredibly hard to get yourself out of the home office (it’s cheaper being at home, more time efficient and a lot less effort!) but it’s something I keep pushing myself to do. As much as my home office is efficient and peaceful, I want to make sure I’m keeping creative and for me, a big part of that is changing up my environment.
You don’t have to work all the time!
I was convinced, at the beginning, that someone would notice I wasn’t chained to my laptop – I’m ashamed to say I would even bring my laptop to the bathroom for fear of missing something whilst in the shower…! Aside from being a health and safety nightmare, this wasn’t healthy. I’ve spoken at length previously about Working from Home Guilt (check out my previous blog for more on this) and this was something not to be underestimated. It was a HUGE learning curve realising that I can plan my days to help myself out, I don’t just have to be a slave to my laptop.
Getting myself out, even for a coffee, is still sometimes a challenge (the nice new office environment with everything I need probably doesn’t help that one) but I’m a lot more flexible with my schedule – whether I’m on an early call, allowing myself some time mid afternoon to relax with a book or getting that training session in, during what would otherwise be my commuting time.