Making the Leap: Transitioning from Working in an Office to Working at Home
It seems like a dream to be able to work from home. You can be in your pajamas, make your own coffee instead of the crap you find in the office, and even take breaks or naps whenever you need them.
Many industries now offer the perk of remote work, and even if your company does not offer that option, there are a number of freelance careers that involve working from home without ever entering an office in person.
The transition is not always an easy one though. You need to be prepared to work at home the same as you are prepared to work in an office, and there are some must have things to make the transition go smoothly. Here are some tips and tricks for transitioning from working in an office to working at home.
The Right Software
If you are starting your own business or transitioning from a part-time freelance role to a full time one, this can be especially critical. Your employer may have provided some project management software, Microsoft Office or another office suite, and even specialty software that you will have to pay for on your own now.
You’ll also need a website of your own, which involves setting up your domain name and host, creating content, and marketing your site. These things all take time, and potentially the money needed to hire a web designer to get things started off on the right foot.
Even if you are transitioning to working at home for your company, you will still have to make sure you have all the software you will need to do your job loaded onto your computer or one provided for you by the company. You’ll also need to make sure that if you are using your own computer, it meets the minimum requirements for the company and is equipped with the right programs to keep your data secure.
The Right Space
You’re going to need a place to work, and whether that is a dedicated office, a desk in a spare room, or even a desk in the living room you are going to need the right area to get your work done. There are a couple of key things to consider.
- The Desk: You need to have a desk that has room not only for your computer, but for your planner, any papers you may need to spread out there, and whatever office supplies you are going to need. This can include paper, pens and pencils, highlighters, batteries, in and out boxes, thumb drives or external drives, and more.
The Chair: You may be sitting for hours at a time, although you should get up and take breaks often. Get a good chair with good back support. The cheap ones you find at many office supply
stores will not last or provide much comfort.
- Lighting: You need to be able to see and see well. Good lighting will save your eyes, bad lighting can make them sore and cause eyestrain. If you need to, install auxiliary lighting in your office, and use desk lamps wisely. Track lighting is often a good and inexpensive solution.
- Décor: Just because it is a work space does not mean your office has to be drab. Spice it up with personal pictures, plants, art, and memorabilia. The place you work in should produce a feeling of calm in you. If it does not, add art and color that makes you feel good.
The place where you work is vital to you being productive. Make sure you can isolate from sound, concentrate, and actually focus on work without interruption.
The Right Hardware
Besides your computer, you will need other hardware as well. The challenge of a home office is that it must serve as an office, but you must keep some of the same standards you would in a traditional office. Here are some things you will need.
- The Printer: While most companies are trying to go paperless, you will probably need a printer of some sort even if you need it infrequently. If it won’t fit on your desk, you will need a printer stand or someplace similar like on top of a filing cabinet where you can put it.
- Secure Storage: Speaking of the filing cabinet, you will probably need a locking one for any work files you have, and you may want to invest in a fireproof safe to keep hard drives, thumb drives, and other important papers in just in case you experience an unusual disaster.
- Router and Internet: You will need a good, high speed router backed by good, high speed internet. This router will also need to be a secure network protected by a strong password.
The right hardware will make the difference between a smooth-running home office and one that is filled with frustration. Be sure to prepare your office with the things you will need before you start work at home, and if you find you have forgotten something, try to obtain it as soon as possible.
The Right Attitude
There are two dangers to working at home. The first is that there will be too much home about it, and not enough work. It is easy to get distracted by other tasks that need to be done and neglect your work.
The opposite danger is that you overwork, because when you work at home you never really leave the office. Your work is always there, and it is tempting to just check one more email or do one more task before dinner or after, or even during time that should be dedicated to your family.
The key to preventing either of these things is time blocking. Set aside time in your schedule for each task you need to do, and only do them during that time. Don’t let anything distract you or interfere with your schedule that is not absolutely essential.
Lock your computer at certain times, and don’t let yourself overwork. Shut the office door if you have one, and better yet, lock it at a certain time of the evening.
Making the transition from working in the office to working at home can be a tough one. Be prepared, have the right software, space, hardware and the right attitude though, and you will be both productive and successful.