I had the amazing opportunity during my son’s first year to work from home. Here are five things I’ve learned about setting up my office and working from home:
Set office hours.
Working from home can easily lead to feeling like work never ends.
Set office hours that make sense for your family, your company and yourself.
That might mean waking up early to get a few hours in before baby wakes up or catching up on projects late at night. But don’t let working from home be a reason to put in unnecessary overtime. Set working hours, put them in your calendar and stick to them.
When those hours are up, leave the office, and don’t feel guilty about not immediately responding to emails during off hours. Don’t forget to communicate those hours with everyone too!
Pick a place you can leave.
For me, that means a converted garage. For you, it might be a spare bedroom or even an extra closet. Maybe it’s that dining room you never use, except for work.
Pick a place that enables you to set boundaries that allow you to leave work “in the office” at the end of the day.
Just as you did with the rest of your house, you’ll need to baby-proof.
Make sure cords are tucked away, outlets are covered, cabinets are locked and large, top-heavy furniture is secured. To make sure you didn’t miss anything, try getting down to your little one’s level and crawling around.
Set up an area for your tiny assistant.
When my little guy was really itty-bitty, he spent time in his bouncy chair or his swing where he could see me. Now that he’s mobile, he “helps” me from the pack-n-play I set up in my office and filled with toys and books. If you have an older child, and the space, consider setting up a small work space for your child filled with fun art supplies.
I spent six months trying to juggle my little guy and work by myself. While I’m proud of what I managed to do, it was rough. Finding help has made all the difference. I’m able to be focused during my office hours, and fully present when I’m with my son. For our family, help looks like an amazing nanny. For you, help may look like a family member, daycare or, perhaps, even an au pair. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.