Kim Coley

Working From Home

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Is it for you?

Some people think that their dream would be to wake up, stay in their PJ’s, and answer emails from the comfort of their own home (maybe never leave the bed?). But for others, the thought of a non-traditional work flow is daunting, or perhaps, they don’t have the necessary tools to replicate the functionality of a structured office space. I, however, took to it like a bird to flight! Here’s a little insight into how I’ve made the work-from-home experience work for me.

Routine is Key

Every morning begins as usual: I wake up and go through the same motions as if I were going to any office. It’s important to maintain a routine to avoid falling into bad habits. This includes still waking up at 7:30am. Can I sleep in? Sure, but what would that do? There’s still work to be done! The upside is that I have more leeway for multiple “snoozes”.

Breaking up the day from personal-life to work-mode is as simple as changing out of your PJ’s. I know, I know, it’s tempting to sit in your jammies all day and work from the soft comfort of your bed, but that’s a slippery slope into inefficient productivity, as well as an increased chance of bed sores and bad posture. It’s not necessary to “dress” up, but keep it comfortable and casual. This is a perfect time to wear those fun yoga pants you keep buying, but never wear to yoga.

No commute? No worries!

Definitely a big one for me. I used to commute up to 1 hour (one way!), every day, five days a week. This was…not fun.

TIME notes several effects that a typical commute does to your body, including raising levels of anxiety and depression, as well as affecting sleep. Since my commute was well above national averages, imagine how happy I was every day going to and from work (Note: sarcasm). Sometimes, the commute gave me time to clear my head and decompress at the end of the day. The bad certainly outweighed the good here, but I can confidently say that now the psychological gain is that I’ve saved my sanity, and my wallet.

Sacred Space

Now to the good stuff. Do you have the space to work from home? Some would say, “I’ll just pop my laptop on the kitchen table.” Not ideal! You need SPACE; A distinct, carved out space that is YOUR OFFICE, is important. Luckily, my additional bedroom is perfect.

pano-above

Have you ever had a cubicle job with the glow of fluorescent lights showering on you? Not great for your mood, and not great for the outfit you so carefully curated that day. If you have a space at home near a window, it’s life-changing. Office with a view? Don’t mind if I do! Natural light is excellent for your overall mental health throughout the work day. Staying connected to nature is sometimes just the break you need in between conference calls. And if it’s nice out, crack the window for some actual fresh air! Oxygen: you need it.

Fun fact about me, I HATE CLUTTER.  I believe that everything has a place, and it’s not where I can see it. Living in such a small space already, I don’t want to spread my work environment into my personal spaces, so hidden storage is vital. Trendy banker’s boxes and accordion file folders are my friend. Since Odyssey Creative is moving towards all digital filing and communications, I rarely need to keep physical paperwork around, which is great for the environment, and perfect for a more streamlined office space.

Proper Materials

When I worked in a corporate office environment, I utilized the communal supply closet for any office supply needs. While I don’t have that particular convenience anymore, I prefer the alternative. Now, I can have a more tailored set of supplies for my needs. Sharpies? ALL THE COLORS. I even bought myself a cute dry erase board that I can color code.

*Color coding is my life

Personal touches are big here – after all, you’re still at home. If you’re staring at a computer all day, it’s nice to look up and see things that make you happy. Photos of family and friends (goofy faces allowed), artwork (either yours or a collection), and a small plant or fresh flowers. Prone to killing plants? Try a succulent; real or fake, they add the greenery, but are super low-maintenance. If you look closely, you can see my current obsession for Game of Thrones, depicted in several art pieces on my wall. I also have an affinity for maps, which is sadly, a dying art. Even if they are for fictional worlds, i.e. Fantasyland or Westeros, I enjoy unique maps of all kinds, including a map from Local Love Orlando, in memory of the victims of Pulse.

I’m just getting into the standing-desk club, but better late than never. When setting up my office, I wanted as many options to adjust as possible. Thankfully, Ikea exists, and I was able to obtain an easy and affordable option. Keep the body moving, people!

Much like the standing-desk epiphany, another upgrade was having two-monitors. How did I ever function on my 13” laptop screen? If you have the resources to obtain an inexpensive 2nd monitor for your computer, it’s worth every penny. It creates more digital real estate to view multiple windows at one time. Comparing, referencing, and altering documents becomes much more efficient.

Time

Finally, the real perk of working from home: work/life balance. Some countries, like Sweden, have come around to the idea of a shorter work day to improve employee efficiency, and also to allow them to spend more time actually living. Having the flexibility to take a conference call on my way to the doctor, or bring my laptop with me when I visit family is a better use of time than a traditional work day. I realize how lucky I am to work for Odyssey Creative and the freedom it allows to work remotely and still be able to live my life as needed.

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