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Create your own home office rules

This is the time to create your own home office code of conduct. If you think about it, this is a golden opportunity, one that may not come around again. While you also need to uphold all the values and goals of your employer, in your home office – you are in control of your rules.

Instead of focusing on everything you have lost by being away from the traditional office, try to get clear on what you have gained. Autonomy is the biggest gift of a work-from-home experience, if you take the time to honor it. This is the very freedom you have always dreamed of, but could never quite manage to achieve.

At least I speak for myself. While this lack of direct supervision can seem overwhelming, (I know that from experience), don’t shy away from the feeling. Instead, write down everything that comes up when the work-from-home experiment seems to be heading in the wrong direction. Once you know what needs to be fixed, the solutions will often present themselves.

The first time I plunged into the remote work experience, I faced many problems. I had technically retired, or had told everyone that. So I was in my home office not sure what I wanted to do next, all by myself. I had yearned for alone time but had no idea how that would really feel. Turns out that was a little tricky to navigate. Without some people to talk to, collaborate with and even to visually ‘see’, I was quite lonely.

Then I had the problem of venturing into work, (new career), I was not familiar with. I realized I needed a new group of people to surround myself with and considering my self-imposed retirement, I felt ill equipped to find them. My loneliness was compounded by this factor.

Luckily, we decided to travel the world as a family and I could dive into research and planning. While that was still rather solitary, I knew my confinement was going to be temporary. I had a date when our house would be turned over to someone else for a year. Once I had a vision, I could create goals and objectives. Then I was on my way. All the skills I had acquired up until that point came in quite handy.

Fast forward to working from home during a pandemic. Yes, these are vastly different circumstances to my first experience. I don’t have complete autonomy, but that has turned out to be really good for me. I’ve got a vast network of people who I can meet, collaborate with and turn to for support and wisdom. I have deadlines for projects I am working on. But, the best part is I get to set my own rules for my home office.

Here we go for my home office rules:

  1. Show care for others
  2. Speak truth, kindly
  3. Seek win – win solutions

This idea of my home office rules popped into my head this morning as I woke. Last night I was reading a really good book and those thoughts must have given me inspiration as I slept. Or not, it doesn’t matter how this happened. I’m thankful that this idea came to me and I can fill a little patch of wall above my computer with these 3 simple rules to live by.

Of course I have already done the heavy lifting of creating my physical working space. I’ve read all the articles and over time have acquired all the tools I need to be productive.  I put my work computer away on Friday night, along with any other materials I have been working with during the week. I bring out my personal computer and set myself up for the weekend. My office transforms easily with these shifts.

I think it is also important to shift my mind from one set of projects to another. My weekday projects shift to the back burner as my weekend projects move forward. These are things in my life and I strive to give them all time and space to develop. I don’t struggle with the idea of work-life balance anymore. I enjoy everything I set my attention to. Of course, I prefer some tasks over others. But, that’s OK. It is part of life and there is no point to get stressed about that. The balance is achieved when my attitude stays positive towards everything I have chosen to take on.

For now, my work from home experiment seems to be running smoothly. The biggest learning from the first time I tried, up to my current state seems to be how I manage my emotions and stress. I need to remember rule number one for myself. In equal parts, show care to myself as well as others.

Creating home office rules is part of exploring how to set-up a home office. Check out these other posts for more great information:

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