Remote Work - Adjusting to Life and Work from Home
Imagine being at work one day and being told you’ll have to transfer your work to your home due to the Covid-19 outbreak. At first, this sounds both exciting and terrifying. You’ll finally be able to work from the comfort of your own home! No more coming into the office when you can perform your job from the space you have at home. This will be incredible!
For some of us, this first part of the transition was as simple as going home and installing some remote work software onto our own personal computers, then plugging in and going to work. For others, having people transport hardware and cabling into their homes has their space invaded with corporate machinery and people to install it. For the latter group, I feel for you. If you’re anything like me, you don’t like having strange people bringing things into your house. Also, if you have children and they tend to leave a mess, this can be an issue all on its own.
My transition, from a hardware and software perspective, was easy. I quit my day job and came to work with my wife for the business she established. Welcome to JC Quigley! My wife is a professional everything, to everyone. She worked hard for her doctorate, and she uses it every day here at JC Quigley, putting her skills to work for our clients.
I, on the other hand, had been in the automotive industry for most of my life.
I attended college and received my associates and bachelor’s degrees (one in business and the other in IT) and continued my auto industry career. Today I work from home. Today I try and plan my day around what needs to be accomplished for work and then balancing that out with the responsibilities of being a parent and husband.
Now that we have a little background information, I want to share what I have learned so far about working at home and how unprepared I was.
Let me preface this next section by saying that I had NO IDEA what it would really be like working at home. What I thought and what I knew were two entirely different things.
First, I thought this would be easy. I would wake up, get my coffee, figure out what I needed to do from the computer, and bam! I would be done. The reality is different, at least for me. I wake up, make coffee, get the kids moving, get the dog outside, fire up the computer, check on the kids, set up school and expectations for them; then, I get to work on the computer. Or the phone.
Scheduling was a shock to me. It’s not like working at the shop or the office where everything is pretty well set in stone. Learning to be more fluid and adapt to situations on the fly was something I was not expecting to do. When you schedule things while working at home, those things become static in an ever-changing environment. You hold those appointments, and the rest of your day is like a river. Things happen when they happen; unexpected events can push things off or move them up. You have to consider that there are other people in the house with you and have needs.
My wife is way better at managing all of this. I am learning. I am learning to do things in ways I never considered. I am learning to be more flexible and less rigid. I have had to learn a lot of things by trial and error. During my first month at home, I am sure that I put more stress on my family and business than was necessary. I have managed businesses for many years, and I tried to manage to work from home the same way I managed the other businesses I have worked with.
It was a huge failure.
Suffice to say that it is not a good idea to try and manage your workday at home the same way you would manage anywhere else. This is your home. You have to consider the needs and schedules of the people within your home. You also have to make adjustments for their needs if you expect them to do the same for you.
Once you figure that out, the rest is smooth. Minus the unexpected events that can occur during your business calls. The dog throwing up in the background, the sounds of children doing activities in the next room, people walking through video calls. It’s all very entertaining in the long run. I haven’t experienced too many embarrassing things, you know, like the great clips you can find on YouTube, and hopefully, I won’t find myself on that list.
What about you? What has it been like for you? What challenges did you face? What are your favorite things about your new position from home? Let me know in the comments, and we can keep this conversation going!