Homeworking: the secret is, there IS no secret.
Tips from the desk: experiences of being a long-term home-worker.
After I sat down to begin this, I got up again, stroked and talked nonsense to the dog, went and spoke to my partner in the garden, then ate a pear.
I mention this only to show it’s possible to work from home, be easily distracted, yet get things done. Although I’ve freelanced all my working life, it’s been speckled with part-time office-work too, so I know that time-wasting and procrastination are possible in any setting. (To say nothing of the hours you can flush away in meetings.)
Home-working seems to me to be more about what you’re like than the work you do. I’ve known rational, conscientious people come within millimetres of madness after homeworking, while offices can reduce habitual freelancers to numb misery (full disclosure: I mean me).
In the context of Covid-19, and assuming homeworking’s temporary, I think it’s crucial to be honest with and about yourself:
Will certain times of day be more productive than others?
Where and how do partner / children fit in?
Does being a team member energise or irritate you?
Will you relish or dread video meetings?
Are you a chained-to-the-laptop-till-it’s-done type, or do you mooch about, go online, text a friend, but still get it done?
Because isn’t getting it done what matters? If you can agree your outputs then exceed expectations, who cares if your route’s direct or scenic?
Without trying to sound all zen-master-life coach, if managers need to know what people are like, individually, to manage them effectively at home, then people need to be equally clear about their own strengths, preferences, weaknesses and quirks in order to get the best out of themselves.
See, I KNEW I needed that pear before I started. It kept me going until lunchtime, which is now.
I may be a while.