The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed many Americans to learn what it’s like to work remotely. Whether you’re an old hand at telecommuting or know next to nothing about it, working from home is not a new concept. In fact, Americans have been combining work and home in interesting ways since the Industrial Revolution.
The “Home Office” Revolution
When you think about working from home, you may imagine an office in a spare bedroom, complete with a roomy desk and a computer perched on top. But, the first people to pioneer working from home were actually shopkeepers, teachers, and doctors, many of whom lived directly above their place of employment.1 This trend continued until the mid-1980s when IBM began to install “home terminals” for its employees. Eventually, the invention of smaller computers gave rise to the more modern version of telecommuting we know today.2
Enjoy the Perks
Depending on your lifestyle, the benefits of working from home can be numerous. Spending less time commuting can cut down on your stress and travel costs. Many people also find that they can take breaks more easily while working from home, leading to increased productivity, lower burn-out risk, and better worklife balance.3 But that doesn’t mean going remote is as easy as simply doing your normal work from home. Combining your professional and personal lives in the same space can be uniquely challenging. Luckily, with some planning, discipline, and experimentation, you can make working from home a productive and rewarding experience.
Get Tech-ie With It
It may seem basic, but taking stock of your technology to be sure you have what you need is one of the smartest investments you can make. It can be easy to forget smaller items like your laptop charger or mouse, especially if you’re used to keeping those things at the office. Don’t limit yourself to the “hardware,” though. It’s important that you know the software you’ll be using and how strong your connection to the internet is from home; definitely beef up your Wi-Fi if possible.4
Don’t Forget About the Kids
If you have little ones who are also at home, you’ll need to prepare on their behalf as well. Younger children may need additional sources of entertainment (or supervision) while you’re keeping your nose to the grindstone. Stocking up on books, toys, and streaming content can help keep kids stay occupied so you can stay focused.5 Be Kind to Yourself Perhaps the most important tip to remember: be kind to yourself as you adjust to your new routine. If you’re new to working from home, workplace pressures and responsibilities may collide in unexpected ways. Now is the time to remain flexible, adaptable, and practice self-compassion. You may find your usual habits at the office are unsustainable at home; that’s okay. Take it slow, be patient with yourself and others, and find new strategies that work for you.6
Embrace the Adventure
Remember: there are lots of resources available to you. A quick Internet search will unearth a treasure trove of telecommuting tips and tricks you can try. It may be a great opportunity for experimentation, so pick an approach and see if it works for you. Change is challenging, but it brings opportunities for growth too. Embrace the adventure you find yourself in and remember to enjoy all the perks along the way.
1. Fast Company, 2020
2. Fast Company, 2020
3. Indeed.com, 2020
4. TheVerge.com, 2020
5. CNN.com, 2020
6. NPR.org, 2020
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against a loss.