Its been about a year since I've spent time in a cubicle in an office. And truth be told it's been over 3 years since I've logged more than 15 hours a week in said cubicle. During my sales role at HubSpot, the office was fun meets super intense business playground.
I was surrounded by smart people, helping companies across the globe increase revenue and improve day to day processes through the help of SaaS. The in between meeting chats, the snack runs, renting a conference room and brainstorming, the manicures instead of lunch with your office neighbor....those are things about the people I worked with that I miss. Working now almost entirely from my home office (while it is nicely re-done and aesthetically pleasing) I find myself struggling sometimes when I need a change of scenery. The personal space and home office environment I created for myself everyday has made me more efficient, productive, and keeps my routine-not so routine; but it is not without focus and structure that this can be accomplished.
What does 'Building Boundaries' mean? The #1 rule you have to follow for yourself when working from home is creating a boundary around your work, and being conscious of the space you conduct work in. Unless you have a very large house with separate wings you never use, chances are your go-to break away spots can become the deck, the kitchen, the bonus room in your home, etc. The problem is those are also rooms you live in outside work with your friends and family. By being aware that the 2 need to be conducted in separate spaces will keep energy flowing nicely. Below are some of the best work from home perks.
1. Flexibility: Being a mom to a toddler is no small feat. Couple that with evolving my own company, staying up on my trade, networking, managing a household's social calendar, and getting great results for my clients marketing campaign strategies, there is not one minute in my day that isn t devoted to someone. One thing I have gotten better about is actually putting myself on that list of people to be taken care of. Sheryl Sandberg is a big advocate for offering resources and guidance on how to remain successful in your career, while being a mother as well. As with anything, its easier said than done and requires focus and dedication to ensuring the calendar is well rounded and the to-do list taken care of. Being able to work around my families schedule and still get everything done is a moving target, but after a few years of focus and change, I think I've got it down.
2. Networking Ability: Many things in life come down to who you know, and right place-right time. Those words have never been truer as I was trying to build my own business. Who can I work with? Who makes sense to target? Where are there gaps in services/product offerings that I can fill? All of these are questions that work from home executives can turn into new opportunities to meet people. Take the time to go to a networking lunch, grab a solo seat at the bar during a busy lunch/dinner time and network. Having the ability to change your calendar when an opportunity presents itself to talk business can be the difference between a deal, or no deal. Networking also forces most to get out of our comfort zone. Being uncomfortable pushes us to be the best, and we in turn grow exponentially from this exercise.
3. Ability to pop into group office settings: The trend that has emerged the past few years is the one of group work space, without the day to day overhead. This environment is a great opportunity to break from your typical home office, and get the look and feel of an office environment without the monotony of it. This leads to continued inspiration, osmosis of brainpower from the others in your shared space, and again, the opportunity to connect and network with those whom you may have never met. My friend is in the main creative commercial for Oficio (gotta support friends and their talent) so I've been partial to these shared spaces, but there are tons more too choose from. Getting out of the home office is a great way to get a change of pace, without feeling the need for a new HQ.
Once back at your home, its important to make your work space inspirational, so the fun part is designing. HERE are some of the most inspiring home offices for 2016 so far.
*nothing beats good old fashioned elbow grease. Most successful work from home executives tend to have the common traits of being organized, punctual, focused, and driven. Nothing can replace these skills, and there are many guides and coaches out there to help improve various traits if you feel you are lacking. Self improvement and investing in YOU should never stop no matter what age or success level you have reached.
Working from home is amazing if you have the discipline, focus, and ability to create boundaries around your space. Once you do so, as Biggie said, the "Sky is the limit and you know that you can have what you want, be what you want..."
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