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working from home + a home office tour


home office tour, gallery wall, leopard rug

Update: This post was originally published in 2015 a few years after I went homebased when we moved to Charlotte.  Since then, I've continued to work from home since then and 2020 marks my 7th year of working remotely.  As many of us are looking at a new way of working in the wake of COVID-19, I wanted to bring it back.  I still follow the advice below and hope that as some of you transition into working from home that you find it helpful to carve out a new normal and routine

This month marked two years since I transitioned to an 100% home-based role within my company.  Initially it was definitely a transition, but now I feel I've settled into not only working from home full time, but also into our new space in Charlotte.

I get a lot of reactions when I tell people that I work from home; everything from 'that's so awesome-you can wear your pajamas all day, everyday' to 'that has got to be difficult.' And truthfully, I think that it is a healthy mix of all of that.  So I thought I'd share some of the biggest myths & truths I've learned this past year of working from home, as well as some pictures from our space (which is constantly a work in progress).

You can also read more about my career here.

Myth #1: 'You must love being able to just roll out of bed and into your office.'
While it is extremely convenient to walk down my stairs, turn on our coffee pot, and start working without battling traffic, for me, I find it difficult to be productive without having gotten ready in some capacity,
Truth #1: Put your game face on
Everyone has different opinions when it comes to how you get ready and to what degree you do when working from home.  For me, I get ready when I get up in the morning.  This usually means make up, clothes, the whole nine yards.  Though I don't always get 100% dressed up as I would if I were going into the office (I allow myself one day in work out clothes a week), it helps me to 'start' the day.

Myth #2: 'I could never be productive when working from home.'
Productivity can be a tricky thing. Working from home requires you to be more focused in some areas because there are always more opportunities for distractions. However, I have found that I can actually be more productive without the distractions of office life. What works for me is having a definite structure to your working from home schedule.
Truth #2: Structuring your day helps immensely with productivity
I like to structure my day with 'bookends': a definite start and stop time each day.  It's very easy for work to bleed into your personal life when you have your office just a walk away.  I start each morning no later than 8 am and end around 5 pm.  I also try to get up and walk away from the computer sometime mid day.  There have been days when working from home, I would get up and walk straight to my computer and not look up until 7ish.  Though somedays I might pick up my emails and do some work after Liam goes down, the working straight through until the evening is not a sustainable model for me.

Myth #3: 'It must be so nice to work from anywhere in your home.'
Yes, the ability to work from the couch or the kitchen table is enticing and sometimes I do move into one of those spaces for a change of scenery, but usually I find that I am more productive & focused with a dedicated space.
Truth #3: Dedicate a space
Even if it is just a corner of a room, have a dedicated space to do your work.  It helps not only with leaving your work behind for the evening but also structuring your day a bit better.
Update: when the girls were born, we re-arranged the office and transitioned it as both a space for me to work and also a space for the kids to play.  I still have a dedicated space, as do the kids.  It's still quite possible to share space and not get too distracted.  

Myth #4: 'I bet you love being able to have your little one at home with you since you work from home.'
This usually solicits a deadpan stare from me because clearly these individuals either have the best behaving toddler in the world or they don't understand the nature of work that I do.  For someone with a more flexible work schedule, working with a child from home might be completely do-able; for me, it is entirely a non-starter.  I spend the majority of the day on conference calls and putting out fires and would not at all be able to take care of, let alone provide the educational content needed to develop a curious toddler mind.  Sometimes I even forget to feed myself during the day. #truestory
Truth #4: Compartmentalizing work and life as much as possible
In any career, whether you work from an office or from a home office, there is absolutely bleed-over from aspects of your life in everything you do.  Balance is simply unattainable and any attempts to attain it will drive you mad.  However, having Liam in daycare helps the bleed-over subside.  Whether you have a child, significant other, or any sort of extra curricular activities outside of work, it's important to reserve a little bit of yourself and have a bit of a separation.
Update: Many of us are going to be faced with not only working form home, but also working from home with children there as well given that school is on-hold for the time being.  My best advice is to still carve out structure & compartmentalize as much as possible.  We are looking at schedules which allow the kids buckets of time to focus on specific activities, as well as dedicating specific times where we schedule teleconferences and working hours.  As of now, I think a lot of my work is going to have to be accomplished pre- wake up and post-night time for the time being.  Which, though not ideal, will be fine as it is only for a set amount of time. 

home office tour, gray malin, kate spade

IKEA bookshelves, home office tour

home office tour, IKEA bookshelves

IKEA Bookshevles, home office tour

home office tour, gallery wall, gap dress

What are some of your tips for productive working whether it be from home or the office? 

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