Lock the fridge – and other tips on how to make working from home work
While Pomegranite is small, we have decided that it makes sense to work from home initially, rather than rent office space.
I’m not going to lie. When it’s cold and rainy and dark, there is something so-good-you-feel-guilty about not having to get up, shower and fight through immovable traffic to get to work. Instead, you carefully sit up in bed, reach for your laptop, sign into your email – and ta da! You’re at work.
While I have only done that once twice on a handful of occasions, and don’t recommend it on a regular basis, there are definitely some perks to working from home. There are also some cons – like checking your email at 11:05 pm because, well… your desk is right there.
The internet is full of tips on working from home. Having worked from home for four months now, I have tried ALL the things. Here are five things that I try and stick to to maintain some sense of normalcy.
1) Have a designated work space
Ok – so this is a tip you will probably find on just about every article on working from home. You know why? Because it’s a true story. It gets pretty hard to separate work stuff from your home life (especially when you live in a tiny apartment). But if you don’t have a proper office to go to, it helps having a desk to “go” to. It’s easier to “leave” work when you get up from a work space at the end of the day.
2) Try and stick to “normal” work hours
For me, it’s all about maintaining a sense of normalcy and routine when you don’t interact with the outside world as often as those poor humans with office jobs most people. It’s easy to sleep late if you don’t have a boss waiting to look at you disapprovingly, or to get caught up in a task and work late into the night. Try and stick to the usual eight to five where possible. It helps with sanity. And stuff.
3) Install a lock on your fridge and kitchen cupboards
But really. When your “office” is basically your lounge and kitchen, and the fridge is five steps away (if you take small steps), it’s hard not to visit it every couple hours, just… you know… to see. I swear, sometimes my fridge calls to me softly across the room. SHUT THAT DOWN. Otherwise there will come a day when elves shrink all your pants. And that’s never fun.
4) Get dressed (in clothes that are not pajamas)
So ja. I may or may not have worked in my pajamas for the first week. One day our business cards were delivered. In my excitement, I rushed outside to get them forgetting that I was in my dressing gown, moo cow pants, and slippers. I decided then that it was time to break the cycle. I’m not suggesting you wear a collared shirt and tie to your desk. But maybe some tracksuit pants, you know? Getting “dressed” for work helps get you into a work frame of mind. It’s also less awkward if your business cards arrive.
5) Remind yourself of the outside world
When you’re in an office environment, there is stuff going on around you all the time – office gossip, people’s comments on the news, your colleague’s stories about her ridiculous flatmates. When you work from home, it’s easy to get sucked into your screen and forget that there are actual, three-dimensional people out there. Take breaks. Step outside and remind yourself what sunshine feels like on your skin. Go to the gym – and be shocked at how many people are there at 10am on a Thursday morning. (Seriously – who are these people? Are there that many freelancers/students/housewives in Cape Town?)
Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy those rainy days where your most stressful moment is trying not to let too much cold air in as you reach for your laptop.