Posted by Beth Brockette on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

With so many people sent home from their office to figure out their new normal, I thought I’d share some tips that worked for me over the years, transitioning from a traditional office environment to working from home.

The first experience was the flood of 2008 when I was working for Alliant Energy.  One day I’m traveling around the state, meeting with businesses & community leaders & the next day realizing that the rising river wasn’t stopping.  Everyone in my office was being told to plan on working from home for an undetermined time.Then in 2010, I opted-out during one of many reorganizations.  After more than 30-years of going to an office most days, I moved into a self-directed business of my own.  At the time, Ruhl&Ruhl REALTORS was just opening a physical office in Cedar Rapids. I didn’t have business yet or a place to go.

Here are some tips that helped me in these situations & provided the structure for me to successfully build my real estate business.

  1. Find a dedicated space: You typically don’t get to choose your location at an office building.  This is your chance to find a favorite spot in your home for work.  In 2008, I chose my 4-seasons room.  Lots of light, beautiful views.  It was a happy place to be.
  2. Make it inspiring: No matter where you have space, you can make it comfortable, organized & inspiring.  Pinterest can give you some simple ideas to make your space a pleasure.  It might be family photos, your vision board or a beautiful wall hanging.
  3. Make it functional: Think about the items you need daily to do your work.  Have them accessible so you aren’t distracted searching around the house for things you regularly use.
  4. Set it apart: Find a way to set your new work area apart from the rest of your home.  It might just be a screen or curtain.  It might be a room with a door or a room on a different level from your main living.  For me, I love what I do & get pulled in easily.  It’s important to be able to shut work off at some point.  Equally important is to not let your day-to-day home life distract you while working.
  5. Show up!: You aren’t on vacation, so get up, get dressed & go to work!  You may still be doing video calls or virtual meetings.  You want people to continue to have confidence in you.  And it’s a mindset for yourself.  How we look impacts how we work.  While you may dress a bit more relaxed, saving your leisurewear for the time you aren’t working, also helps separate work life & home life.
  6. Take advantage of the benefits: You just added time to your day!  No more time lost in the commute to & from work.  How will you use that time?  Everyone is different.  Maybe you can get a little extra sleep.  This might be the time to get into that exercise routine you haven’t been able to work into your schedule.  And in this particular time, what a great opportunity for morning meditation.
  7. Have a routine: Most of us function the best with routine.  That’s even more true in times of great uncertainty.  I found that, at first, the uncertainty of our current situation had me very distracted.  Having a plan & a routine for each day helps me feel more in control & more focused.

Technology helps us work from just about anywhere, but we’re human & change is hard.  Hopefully, some of these tips will help your transition from working in an office environment to working from home.