Working from home comes with an adjustment period. You have the ability to set your own schedule, create a work space (or not), and enjoy the joys of no coworkers (sorry Mark, but I can only chat college football so many times). Here are a few tips I’ve found since transitioning from being a nonprofit employee in a lively workspace to working for myself in my 1920s bungalow.
- One of the perks to working from home is the ability to flexible with your schedule. You can go to gym in the middle of the day or take an impulsive day off. While I encourage you to take advantage of this flexibility, I also suggest creating some semblance of a work routine. This could be only checking your emails M-F or always taking Sunday off of work. Maintaining a routine will encourage a healthy work/life balance and help you not feel like you are working 24/7.
- Create a workspace conducive to the work you are accomplishing. Whether you need to invest in a desk that can fit multiple monitors or a space that can be flexible with each project you do, you need to figure out what type of work space will maximize your productivity. Figure out what you need to be successful! I prefer to work in natural light at a large table that enables me to spread out documents or set up a work flow for sewing Tiny Janes. Some days I work on the couch (but I know those work days will move at a slower pace.)
- Just because you "work from home" doesn't mean you have to work at home! Find WiFi without breaking the bank by spending time at your local library. Many offer rooms of all sizes that can be reserved with a library card. Whether you're looking for a private space to help you focus, new resources (librarians can help you search for grants, find business books, and more!), or an excuse to get out of the house - your local library can be a great destination.
- Try to preplan your meals! While it is nice to have the ability to rummage through your cabinets and create a meal from scratch, it can also interrupt your work flow. Plan your lunches in advance to ensure something that can be quickly made or pre-made.
- Many people I know are worried that working from home will make them not look professional. Trust me, nobody is googling your address when they mail you a check and nobody minds meetings at a coffee shop. Heck, the person you are meeting is probably excited to have left their office!
- Talking to other people is a great way to get new ideas and build connections. This is a bit tougher when you are working from home, but that's part of the reason why communities like Ticco can be such an asset! Ticco's platform allows you to connect with your peers around the country. If you can't make it to one of their in-person events, consider finding a fellow professional near you through the platform and inviting them to meet over coffee or attend a mixer for a local professionals group!
The most important tip is to have fun and experiment with how you work from home! You are not going to know immediately what you need for success, so try working in different rooms or on different days of the week.
Sarah Marsom is a Heritage Resource Consultant based in Columbus, Ohio. Beyond her consulting work, Sarah is the creator of the Tiny Activist project, and sews Jane Jacobs dolls which contribute proceeds to scholarships for emerging professionals. Additionally, Sarah is a founding member of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists. She is currently a Ticco Ambassador and Advisor for Ticco's upcoming "Place Shapers - Detroit" Retreat!