In the early 1980s, I spent one of several evenings in the home of an entrepreneurial couple who lived in the foothills of Los Angeles. This couple would regularly invite people over to their home to talk. Talk about what? Everything. Life, relationships, business, and most of all – the future. It was an informal mastermind group of people who loved good wine, forward-thinking, and great conversation. One night after an interesting discussion among that night’s guests, the husband invited me into his office (but not working from home back then) and showed me a fairly large rectangular hard-plastic box. It was a box with a very small, 5” screen on it. He turned it on and it lit up with bright yellow monochromatic characters that flashed on the screen. He said – “It’s an Osborne!” “An Osborne what?” I asked. “An Osborne computer,” he said.
By today’s standards, this precursor to the personal computer wasn’t much to look at. The least expensive mobile phones on the market today have infinitely more computing power than that big box on his desk. Nevertheless, I was impressed. More importantly, I remember the words he said next: “This kind of technology will change the world and the way people do business in it,” Clearly, I could see how computers would enhance the business but, I still didn’t understand what he meant. He explained that this type of technology “will allow people to do business anywhere – even at home!” This was a prophetic comment if ever there was one.
Working From Home Tips
Working from home has become more common, and sometimes like today – more necessary. So, if you’re working from home these days, here are some things to consider:
- Establish a dedicated area as your workspace. It could be a room or just a table. But that is your workspace.
- Focus. Don’t get distracted. Your home is now your office. Treat your workspace like your office. Structure your day like you would in an office.
- Use the technology that is at your fingertips.
- Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting or any other platform that allows you to talk to people online.
- Here’s a crazy idea – talk to people using that 21st Century version of what Alexander Graham Bell invented – your telephone.
- That technology is great – but stay OFF social media unless it is directly work-related.
- Plan your day. Schedule your work on your calendar, hour by hour. This will help you stay focused and on track.
- Communicate your expectations and ground rules with anyone else that may be at home with you (toddlers and younger are an exception).
- Take breaks away from your “workspace” and go back to your workspace immediately after your break time is over.
Working from home can be productive, I know. I’ve done it off and on for more than 35 years. The trick is that you have to have a plan and work that plan… even when your work is also your home.