How to Transition From Part Time to Full Time WFH
Now that companies are settling into the idea of work from home, some of you may find that your companies have chosen to let you continue this practice if you wish. While it’s not for everyone, if you’ve really enjoyed working from home, it may be something that you’re jumping at the chance to do. In some cases, your company may have decided to close the office permanently. No matter the reason, you may find yourself struggling with how to transition from part time work from home to full time work from home.
I’ve been working from home (and hospital rooms, friend’s houses, even Starbucks) on and off since 2015, so I guess you could say I’m pretty experienced with it. For one year, I really only went into the office to say goodbye to a fellow coworker who was leaving the company and to go in when my boss wanted a face to face meeting. Otherwise, I was working from home full time, so I adjusted to it a bit quicker than some others when we switched to full time work from home.
However, what so many people who started this on a temporary basis may not have done is fully been prepared for it to become permanent. Luckily, getting yourself into a full time work from home space is easier than you think!
The first step is your workspace. Do you still work at the kitchen counter or at your dining room table? If so, that’s got to change ASAP. First of all, studies have shown that you need to keep certain areas of your house separate, including your work area. Even if you don’t have a spare bedroom to make into an office, you can section off a work spot that doesn’t crowd into the rest of your space. If you have a spare bedroom, perfect, add a desk and chair, and set it up like an office space for yourself. If you have the space, you can share with your home gym equipment if need be. If you don’t have a spare bedroom, not a problem. Simply find a section of your house, preferably in a nook or corner, that you can turn into your office area. If you have a small corner of your living room that no one really uses, put a desk facing the wall and add some lighting, a chair, and some personal touches. While working at the dining room table may have worked temporarily, it’s important to find a more permanent setup that will allow you to get your work done with minimal distractions, and not let your work life overflow into the rest of your life.
Once you’ve gotten your workspace narrowed down, let’s talk about hours. Do you tend to work later while working from home? If so, while I applaud your dedication, you’re eating into your work-life balance. Even though work is now at home, that doesn’t mean you need to spend even more time at your computer. Make sure that you keep consistent hours and don’t spend too much time working extra. If you have a big project coming up, of course you may need to work late a bit, but don’t let it become a habit. You still need to have non-work time to maintain a healthy balance and keep your stress levels down. With that being said, you also need to make sure to take your lunch break. Your mind needs these breaks, so make sure you take time away from work as well.
Find a way to “leave” work. Since you aren’t driving home from the office anymore, you may have lost that time that is usually spent unwinding from a long day. Find a way to get that back. Whether you need to go sit on your back porch for 10–15 minutes in silence or listening to music or you need to take a brisk walk around the neighborhood, give yourself the time to do so. Let yourself unwind from a long day like you had in the past before jumping into whatever your evening holds.
Keep a schedule. Working from home may feel a bit like a vacation, so make sure that you stick to your schedule of being at your desk when your work hours start and not straying too far from it during the day. We all need breaks, and they’re necessary for our brains to keep functioning well, but it can also be tempting to turn on the tv or run and do a quick chore, and that’s not what you’re being paid for. Remember, you’re still working, just from a different location, which means you still need to get your tasks done and focus on your job. Keeping a specific schedule for the day from a usual time of getting up to things you do during it will help you to stay on track. Sometimes work from home can feel a bit scattered and fluid, and a schedule will help it to be more regimented.
Finally, enjoy your extra time. If you went from having an hour commute each way, enjoy this extra time you get with your family or sleeping in a bit more. Enjoy a relaxing hour on the porch catching up on the news or reading a new book rather than being in rush hour traffic. This year hasn’t gone the way most of us planned, and transitioning from an office to working from home can be a big change, so find a way to enjoy the small benefits that come with it.