The rich warm aroma of brewing coffee; the clicking of fingers on keyboards; the clacking of high heels on hard floors; the background hum of paper-shuffling, printers and voices – these are just a few of the ambient smells, sounds and sights of the typical office that I have come to miss while working from home, a sentiment I’ve discovered to be beyond the grasp of many I know still subject to the conventional grind of their occupations and even at times a surprise to myself.
While pondering the idea of working from home, I confess that I delighted in visions of rolling out of bed whenever I felt like it, firing up the laptop in my home office sporting bed head and flannel pajamas, and indulging in leisurely coffee breaks and lunches reminiscent of Happy Hour at the famous Pearl Street watering holes catering to Wall Street. I soon found out that the level of productivity related to my fantasy life-style was akin to delegating the Friday afternoon running of the company financial reports to a moose.
Naturally there are great advantages to limiting your commute from your bedroom to your home office. From paring or even eliminating overhead costs and circumventing office politics, to resigning the debates over the office thermostat or whose lunch is stinking up the break room, the list is endless. However, neglecting to incorporate some type of structure and personal discipline will bring your venture to failure faster than an anchor attached to Lindsay Lohan’s career.
As someone who admittedly struggles with organization and routine, I can vouch for the fact that while changing habits overnight is all but impossible for most of us, measurable advantages in productivity can be experienced by making small adjustments, one at a time. For me, it was dressing the part.
Trading the sweats or PJs for a wrinkle-free shirt and dress pants or a nice pair of jeans; the mismatched socks for a self-pedicure and some cute pumps; as well as taking the time to brush and style my hair has done wonders in helping me get into a constructive frame of mind (It has also rescued me from my regular embarrassing encounters with the UPS delivery guy or any other poor soul who has shown up at my door only to be frightened away by my bedraggled appearance). Knowing I look presentable should I be suddenly called upon to visit a potential client or a lunch date with a present client also makes its way into the pro column. And Ladies, never EVER underestimate the power of lipstick.
What helps you get into work mode?