I tried following the 'guidelines' for setting up a home office, getting dressed and going to work.
It didn't take long for me to kick these guidelines to the curb. Everything about Public Relations is deadline driven so maybe it's easier for me but I bet your job is designed with deadlines, too. You, not your manager, know best how to do the work and I'll also bet your experience and ability doesn't rely on a suit and tie.
ABOUT THE OFFICE
The window in my designated office faced the house next door, that didn't work for me. Not only did it block most of the natural light, the view was literally blocked . . . by a wall.
Make your office work for you. Some days it may be the kitchen table or couch and some days on the bed or in the backyard. I also love the option of working from satellite offices such as a restaurant, park, bookstore, coffee shop or a colleague's conference room.
I understand right now your satellite office options are limited. Use your imagination! Set up a coffee table near your front door and wave to neighbors or have a picnic in the backyard and work on a blanket. Stay responsible and set up your office where it works for you.
A client used to call and ask where I was working because they were suck in an office. Enjoy the flexibility! Flexibility is one of the perks of working from home. You can work from anywhere as long as you deliver the work on time.
One of the coolest things about working from home is not wearing a suit unless it's a sweat or bathing suit. While dressing up for meetings is necessary to show respect and project a professional image, you can slip into something more comfortable in the comfort of your home office. If you really need to dress professionally to work at home, go ahead. It's all about what works for you. I like creating my own dress code - my house, my office, my rules. When working with 7-Eleven, the UPS driver who delivered packages of swag for radio stations loved that I often worked in my pajamas until 10 or 11. I didn't work less because I was wearing pajamas, quite the opposite. I was so busy I didn't have time to get dressed. Before you think I was lazy, let me clarify. I had already taken an hour walk and showered before putting on pajamas and beginning to work.
Even though you need to be available during regular business hours, working from home allows you to make your own schedule. Being able to work at the bedside of my grandma and dad and take friends to doctor appointments was priceless. Not one of my office jobs would have allowed me that flexibility even though I never missed a deadline. Sometimes it meant I had to make up time late at night. I'm sure many of you do that, too, even though you didn't take personal time during the day.
Everyone needs breaks. Another perk of working from home is no one dictates when or whether you can take a break and how long. When I need to let ideas marinate, my go-to break is watching a movie. I call it a lunch break . . . hey, I eat popcorn! Taking a walk and getting some fresh air is another fave along with grocery shopping. This eliminates the distraction of wondering what's for dinner.
When I first began working from home, one client thought we needed more meetings to ensure I was working enough to meet their expectations. Working from home has changed a lot since 2002. I was able to manage that by charging for the meetings, including the commute. Every interruption costs you at least 15 minutes to fully regroup and refocus.
Speaking of managing meetings, working from home allows you more freedom to eliminate dreaded meetings so they don't dominate your day. Remaining connected to colleagues and networking are crucial. I suggest you only attend gathering that feed your goals. There's no need to attend a stale networking group just because it's the industry standard. I've found attending groups outside my industry allows me to gain new insights, perspectives and opportunities. Over time, professional groups can experience member turnover and the makeup of members may no longer meet your needs. Maintain your connections in person and cut out the annoying networker interrupting your conversation. Does that work for you?
Everyone is different. It took a while for me to settle in and find what worked.
Let me know what works for you.