Getting Comfortable in Your Home Office

Like it or not, we’re all working out of our home offices now. Many of us are creating a home office for the first time, which leads to challenges in working efficiently. This guide is not about your optimal work set up or technology. Rather, it is focused on the things that you can do personally to keep yourself focused and make sure you’re having a positive experience. Here are a few ideas, tips, and things to remember as we try to embrace life in this brave new world…

Give Yourself Time To Adapt

This is a brave new world. This is new for you; you’ve always worked in an office environment, you’ve always had the optimal setup, you’ve always had that comfort level. But this is a new thing and it’s going to be bumpy… and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some time to adapt.

Avoid At-Home Distractions

The trap that we can fall into when moving from an office to a home office is thinking that we are going to be uber-efficient. We think that we’ve rid ourselves of office distractions; there’s no water cooler, no coffee machine, no break room, no popping around the corner to talk to Janice from accounting, no Bob in sales to talk about the game (in fact, there’s no game to talk about), so you think you’ll get a lot done. But the problem is, when you’re at home, there’s the fridge. . . . chores. . . . the TV. . . .Netflix. It’s easy to start moving around your home doing those other little projects that take your mind off work. My advice to you is to have a plan. Schedule out your time, make lists, and prioritize your tasks. Complete some projects, check some things off the list, focus fully on the work in front of you, then reward yourself with 5-10 minutes of knocking things out around the house. It sounds like the perfect time to test out that Quibi platform!

Protect Your Personal Information

Derek White, an IT security consultant with Beryllium InfoSec, notes that as we are all using video conferencing more often, we need to be more aware of our surroundings, and what shows up on our screens. “As you work remotely," says Derek, "Be aware of what information you are sharing publicly when you share pictures of your remote office (like) sticky notes with user names & passwords, the information on your screen, (and) personal information in the background.” We are all going to be seeing a lot more of each other via video conferencing; let’s make sure that we’re only sharing what we want others to see.

Your Kids Are Around – And That’s Okay

We’ve all seen the video of Professor Robert Kelly reporting on the BBC from his home office when his daughter struts in, then his son, then his wife, frantically trying to grab the kids. It’s hilarious. . . . and now we’re all living in that world. If your kids are in the background, that’s okay. Everyone understands that you’re working from home. If it is OK for Jimmy Fallon’s kids to be hopping around in the background while he does his monologue for The Tonight Show, it’s okay for your kid to pop in every now and then. Acknowledge them, get them what they need (or don’t) and send them on their way.

We’re All In This Together

If you’re on the conference call and your co-worker’s dog pops in, or their kid pops in, or they are distracted because they’re trying to find ways to operate, give them some space - it might be you on the next call. Give everyone some grace and some time to adjust. We’re all learning this together. Embrace the chaos.

Our world is changing, in some cases permanently. As we continue to accept and adjust to life in the Brave New World, we all continue to learn. We’re all getting better, we’re all learning new things every day. We’ll all do well to accept the gifts, and limitations, this new world brings, give each other grace in the process, and move forward together.

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