I worked for a dot.com in Lafayette, LA for a couple of years in a traditional office. My company allowed me to transition to a remote position when my family moved back to the Gulf Coast four years ago. I have always loved remote life! I can dig into my day more effectively. I can also control my space and even my moods better. On bad days I can take a quick walk or snuggle a puppy to reset.
So many people are working remotely right now!
I have a feeling more companies will adapt processes and abilities to offer a remote/flexible schedule once our new normal settles in.
However, it is not great for everyone and incredibly hard with children. (Disclaimer: my kids were in school/daycare all day prior to the pandemic). I used my lunch break to pick up my 6 and 8-year-old from school and set them up with a snack. Sometimes family would help with homework while I was working my last hour and other times, we did it after I got off.
The 3-year-old stayed in preschool until 5 pm to remain enriched and social.
I can be an awesome mom or a great employee. I am not capable of succeeding at both, at the same time.
During the pandemic, we have all made some changes. My 8-year-old is currently sharing my space in the mornings. My sunroom/office is a bit more cramped than I am used to with double desks, double headsets, dueling video calls…at the same time.
Usually, he spends the time reading or working quietly, upside down. Boys are strange.
There was a learning curve for everyone. Here are some lessons I learned along the way.
Protect your space
Make an office, preferably with a door to close. If that is not available, then a room divider screen may work as well. This will help avoid getting distracted and will help you stay in your chair, working.
My desk has a few bobbleheads, but I like it clean and clear to keep my focus fresh. My husband travels often but also works from home the rest of the time. He has a space set up in another room.
My family knows that Monday thru Friday from 8 am until 5 pm, my room is a no enter zone. If they need me, they will knock quietly or sneak in and wait for me to finish my customer call. This lesson actually took a couple of years for them to perfect.
Set a schedule
I am a creature of habit and a bit of a control freak (Understatement!). I start the day with my water and coffee cup full. I map meals for the week to keep me from walking away to graze in the kitchen. I set break times to grab more caffeine at 10 am and 2 pm. Even my Boston Terrier has zero flexibility in not getting goldfish by 3 on. If I am late, she will snort under my chair until I get up. We have a solid routine.
Seriously! No pajamas allowed. Get up, take a shower, and get dressed. I highly recommend you wear something with a button at least twice a week…trust me!
I have a 5-minute make-up routine down to a science. For me mascara, eyeliner, and perfume are never skipped… It makes me feel “dressed.”
You can obviously be more casual than you would in an office, but be ready for the video calls and daycare/school runs.
This is the hardest one. Knowing when to stop and walk away.
From 5 until 8 pm is my family time. We pick up kids, shuffle the boys to the sport of the season, make dinner, homework, baths, and bed. After that, I can jump back on and will work late (pajamas are allowed after 9 pm.)
My kids protect my time and space for 9 hours; therefore, I protect their time in the evening and weekends. That one more email/quote/reports/job/etc. will always be there.