Author Topic: Work from home - tips  (Read 5286 times)

slugsworth

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Work from home - tips
« on: January 27, 2015, 02:42:40 PM »
I have been working from home (in front of a computer) for years now and while it saves on commuting and lunch costs, I get a bit stir crazy which leads me to sometimes go out for happy hour or something similar more often than I might otherwise. I'm curious what things other people do to avoid this temptation. Here is a short list of the things I've done:
  • Exercise after work
  • Got a more ergonomic work station
  • Work at a coffee shop once a week
  • Go into the office once a month (giant pain for me)
  • Conscientiously take breaks
  • Alternate location of where I work (e.g. change seats at the table)
I've considered getting a membership at a co-working place, but unless I can get my company to sign up for it, it would be out of my own pocket.

Any other thoughts on what to prevent going stir crazy?

JLee

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 02:51:44 PM »
Good music would be a must for me.

fodder69

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 02:56:26 PM »
Yeah, I am in the same boat but don't have any great suggestions for you. I do keep busy with biking and such but doesn't always fill that social need. The idea of a second job is a great one if you have the time and circumstances permit. You will not only be not spending money, you will be making money!

JLee

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 03:01:09 PM »
What do you guys do to work from home? I'm trying to find a way to work from Canada in the summer and AZ in the winter...

Rosbif

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2015, 03:16:42 PM »
Standing desk and mat, way of playing music, at least one session a week out of the house (lunch with a friend, work in a café). Lots of coffee.

I start the day by being out of the house (school run). Shambling from bed to computer and working in pyjamas just doesn't get me in the working mindset, but getting dressed and getting fresh air does.

Unique User

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 03:52:24 PM »
I try to go work out or go outside for a run in the late morning or early afternoon depending on conference calls.  I usually start around 7 am and have pretty flexible hours, so it breaks up the day and I have noticed I am more motivated when I come back.  I work for a consulting company. 

SpicyMcHaggus

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 03:56:54 PM »
  • Exercise after work
  • Got a more ergonomic work station
  • Work at a coffee shop once a week
  • Go into the office once a month (giant pain for me)
  • Conscientiously take breaks
  • Alternate location of where I work (e.g. change seats at the table)

Get a room for your office. Get a desk. Set up your workstation. Choose your music of choice, put on the headphones and get it done.
Work out on your lunch break, take a quick shower, and get back to work.
When you are at WORK, work. Don't split time to home tasks.
Take your breaks at completion of a task or every 3 hours.
Avoid reddit/gmail/mmm forum.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 04:06:01 PM »
Walks/exercise, breaks, music, outside view, and my dog help me to stay sane and productive. 

I go for walks in the morning and evening before and after work, short walk at lunch, do a mid-morning exercise break, and listen to music (helps me focus).  Typically work at my couch, which has a great view outside/nice daylighting. 

Can always talk/skype/virtually meet with colleagues as needed if I'm feeling isolated.  And my dog is a constant companion/assistant.

LiveLean

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2015, 04:52:36 PM »
I've worked from home for 16 years. Here's what works for me:

1. Work out first thing, 5:45 a.m.
2. Hammer hard in home office from 8:30 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. (five hours)
3. Shuttle kids from school/home/sports practice, etc., for much of afternoon. (Window of 3:15 to 4:30 to deal with email, calls, business admin.)
4. Work in bleachers of kids' swim practice (or nearby Barnes & Noble) from 5 to 6:45 if necessary. Thankfully, it's usually not and I can do other things, like go to yoga with Mrs. Live Lean.

The key is to really hammer for that five hours. Get done what needs to get done. No Internet/email/phone nonsense. That way you can essentially take the rest of the day off. Stephen King writes about following this schedule every day in his book On Writing.

Ready2Go

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2015, 05:33:22 PM »
Worked at home for 3 years.  I saved my sanity by going on walks during conference calls.  Got me outside, moving and change of scenery.   

puglogic

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 05:37:23 PM »
I have a recurring item on my daily task list which is "Connect."   That means do something volunteerish, or meet face-to-face with a group of some kind (I have one of people who do what I do for a living), or go out to coffee with someone, or go to a workshop or training of some kind, or meet a client, or the rec center at the same time (cheap, and you get to say 'hi' to the same people every time)  whatever gives me some sort of human connection.  I'm an introvert, so an online or phone or Skype thing counts.

I also download interesting podcasts and books on tape and listen to them when I'm working (if I'm not writing).
I play music I like.  On days when I'm sluggish it's loud and pulsing....on days when I'm jumpy it's soothing.
I work in 45 minute blocks, and schedule nice stuff for the breaks (dinner prep subtasks, 100 of some exercise, take a hot shower, sketch, journal)
I get on the floor and play with the dogs, or go sit outside in the sun for 5-10 minutes.
I have a coach I meet online a couple of times a month and she gives me interesting homework to work on.
I invite friends over to sit on the porch and eat dinner or drink (girl's gotta eat, might as well be with buds)
I go for walks around the block....sometimes I wear a headset and do my 'meetings' that way.
I work all over the house - couch, kitchen table, my office, back porch in good weather

If you're an extrovert, being isolated in a home office might never be comfortable to you.  I know I could never go back -- I love working at home. 

Good luck!!   :)

slugsworth

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2015, 06:48:41 PM »
Much thanks for all of the replies!

My pup is actually a giant pain in the butt while I work, he seems to have realized that he being a PITA while I'm on a conference call is an easy way to get extra treats!

@ step-in-time, I think some turnover and team structure change really reduced my ability to call co-workers, which I think really made working from home a lot tougher. I had no problem for the first few years, but the last two or so have been rougher.

Puglogic, I like the idea of being so intentional about connecting.

I've got a goal this year of reducing my eating out/happy hour'ing, as that is probably the biggest money wasting category in my budget - so, I'll be trying to take many of these comments to into practice.



Spondulix

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2015, 05:04:09 AM »
How about find other people who also work from home? DH has the same issue, and he finds reasons to run errands (bank, grocery store) or meet friends during the day for a break. We've got a friend nearby who's usually home daytime, and he likes to come over and cook lunch. Even just having someone come by to chit chat at the house breaks up the day a bit.

Worst case, lunch specials are cheaper than dinner, so one option is to take a longer lunch and just work a bit into the evening.

Kris

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2015, 07:17:27 AM »
I actually prefer working out in the middle of the day.  For me, I belong to a gym that has noon classes, and I like that because it is a break from work so I'm not sitting at a desk trying to slog for eight hours straight.  Two four-ish hour sessions feels much better. Plus, taking a class means you interact with people.  I feel less isolated that way.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2015, 07:24:16 AM »
I think some turnover and team structure change really reduced my ability to call co-workers, which I think really made working from home a lot tougher. I had no problem for the first few years, but the last two or so have been rougher.

Unsure if this is something you can mention to your manager/boss.  My manager is very sensitive to keeping our team happy and connected...some teams have virtual happy hours or regular connecting meetings. 

And I had to laugh about your dog!  It never seems to fail that during a conference call something would cause my dog to bark (a delivery, neighbors, mailman, etc), and I usually move to a different part of the house during calls :)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2015, 08:02:59 AM »
I try to go for a walk every day when it's decent out.

MrsK

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Re: Work from home - tips
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2015, 08:46:23 AM »
I have worked at home for 10+ years.  For years, I was always afraid to leave my desk as I worried that if anyone called or IM'd me and I didn't respond immediately that they would think I wasn't working.  For the past year I have been experimenting with ways to not feel "under house arrest."

I have the morning scramble with the kids and I enjoy helping them get organized and make them a wonderful breakfast before they leave on their bikes.  So I am the at home worker in my PJs as I usually have WebEx conference calls from 7:30 to noon.  My noon break is where I actually shower and as I am all about my crunchy betty beauty routine (another thread about saving money) I like to take my time to do an oatmeal facial of honey wash or something like that.  I have found that taking a bit of time to pamper myself makes me feel better and energizes me. 

Then I work again from about 1 to 3.  I am West coast and all of my customers are East coast (I am a marketing strategist for international companies) so it is rare that I have meetings after 3.  I have one London client so sometimes I am up at 5 am for those meetings.  I try to take my daily walk or bike ride no later than 3:30.  I give myself an hour to savor the outside.  I usually take the dog but sometimes I go by myself for some quality meditation time.

At 5 pm I now have about 30 minutes before everyone else comes home and I like to do a quick tidy of the house and take inventory for what we might have for dinner.  By the time I am pouring my daily wine at 6ish I am ready to relax.  I am sure I am much older than the OP but the last thing I would do at this point is go out. 

Just writing this makes me realize that perhaps I have become a hermit over the past 10 years!  I am so out of the habit of interacting with live humans during the day that I no longer miss it.  I will admit that I have been known to talk the ear off of the fed ex person sometimes if he/she comes when I am between calls.  So for all of you dreaming of working at home, beware this might happen to you.  :)