Through my coaching years, I have heard repeatedly, “I can’t work at home, I get too distracted.” That statement has become so prevalent that employers are using it as an excuse not to allow their employees to work from home.
As gas prices skyrocketed, some employers decided the four-day workweek was the answer to help their employees. Only they didn’t think about the fact that the employee has an hour commute in traffic each way. The ten-hour days and two hours of driving time gave families even less hours in the day to connect with each other.
Many people yearn for the ability to do their job from home. Yet, before you go out and ask your boss to help make this happen, it is time to evaluate yourself. Do you have what it takes to be productive in your home office?
Do You Have What it Takes to Work from Home?
When everyone suddenly found themselves having to work from home during the pandemic, many people struggled at first. They weren’t prepared to work from home and many people didn’t have the right tools, set-up, mentality needed to work from home effectively.
It was quickly apparent to employers which of their employees were able to thrive in an at-home setting and which needed the structure of an office to work efficiently. It’s not a bad thing if you don’t feel like you’re the type of person who can’t work from home. Many aren’t. However, if you think you are the type of person who would thrive in a work from home environment, here are a few things to consider.
Do You Have the Tools Needed to Work from Home?
- Do you have a space that is devoted to your work? Whether it’s a dedicated closed-off office or a well-functioning space in part of another room?
- Do you have an up-to-date computer, desk, computer accessories like a mouse or monitor, and reliable internet connection? Many jobs these days can be completed with just these few items.
- Do you have clutter free, flat surfaces for laying out projects and organizing your thoughts?
- Are you able to have an appropriate noise level for you to think without distractions? Some of us have a high-tolerance for noice while others will be distracted at the slightest sounds.
Do You Have the Right Mentality to Work from Home?
1. Have you figured out if you are a morning or an evening person?
It is important to know when you are the most productive each day. In my case, I’m a night owl. I have a few productive hours in the morning (although, some people consider my morning their afternoon), then more productive hours in the evening when my kids are asleep and I can really sit down and focus.
Asking me to be up by six or go to be earlier than two in the morning are torture for me. I’ve tried to get myself on a more morning schedule, but I was miserable and slipped back into my old night-owl habits at the first opportunity. It’s not that I’m lazy, I’m just wired differently. Even so, I’ve always excelled at my career. Especially afterwards when I finally let me be productive at time that worked for me.
2. Can you leave the household chores until you’re done with work?
It’s hard to feel like you shouldn’t be cleaning 24/7 when you’re at home. Especially if your kids are messing up the house while you’re working. Leaving your office can feel like you’re entering a tornado zone and it can be so tempting to just fold some laundry to wash the dishes or straighten a room, then it’s two hours later and you’ve lost the momentum you had for your project. I often tell myself I’m just going to start a batch of laundry for later, then find myself getting sucked into picking up a few odds and ends on the way.
However, sometimes, if you handle those chores when you feel your creative energy lagging, it can be a good way to break up your day and think through a troublesome project. For example, I know, 1:30 p.m. is the low part of my day. I use about an hour to take care of household duties and while I’m doing it I’m usually going through what needs to be done at work through my mind. When I’m ready to get back to work, I feel refreshed and I’ve done some efficient brainstorming. It’s a better use of my brain power and motivation then staring blankly at a screen and re-reading the same sentence over and over again.
So, basically, if you’re not going to be able to balance household work with your professional work during the day, you could run into problems. However, if you’re honest about your habits and able to manage your time effectively, you’ll be just fine.
3. Are you more introverted or extroverted?
If you are an Extrovert and get your energy from other people, working at home can be the kiss of death. You long to have simple interaction with others. When you are in an office and go to the break room for a cup of coffee often ends up in a quick, fun conversation with someone. When you are home, your journey to the kitchen will probably reveal the dirty dishes . . . not fun.
Sure, there are always Zoom calls and meetings, but there’s something different about talking to a person through a video call and talking to them in person.
Many of you who have read this are thinking, “Well, I do some of that.” However, I’ve found that if you want to work from home successfully you pretty much need all of the things mentioned above. If you have and do the things listed above, then it is time to go to your boss and talk about a possibly working from home.
Do you enjoy working from home or do you enjoy the office environment more? Share with us in the comments below!
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