Three things I’ve learned moving to a home office

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By Herndon Hasty (Digital Performance Manager)

My short time with Saddleback so far has been my first time working from home long-term. Prior to this, my main exposure to it has been being blocked in for a few days during the ice storms that hit Texas a time or two every year.

Yes, by the way, we do get ice storms this far south. And in defense of Texas against those who are snickering at the thought of a little ice shutting things down, the only difference in response between here and colder climes that have to deal with it more regularly is a couple of plows and sand/salt trucks. You either have them, or you don’t.

Moving to a home office situation has been a wonderful change for me and my family, and for anyone who gets an opportunity to do so, it’s absolutely worth exploring.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned making the leap.

It’s not an anti-social hermitage, or at least it doesn’t have to be

My biggest concern in moving to a home office was human contact. I had previously been in office with more than 100 people. We were connected to other US offices with hundreds more where those came from, and a constant flow of clients, vendors, and interviewees coming through the door. Cutting all of that down to just myself and the dog was intimidating.

It shouldn’t have been.

If you’re part of a wider company and working from home, you’ll still be in constant contact with the rest of your team. If you’re not, you’re still working with or for someone, be it clients, vendors or partners.

To make sure you make full use of your network, get in the habit of substituting phone calls for some things you might email about, and where possible in-person meetings for phone calls.

You still have to eat lunch from time to time, and so do your friends and former colleagues – lunches and coffees can still keep you in touch with the wider world. Planned well, it doesn’t even have to cost you restaurant-level money. Try meeting at parks and public places to share the same leftovers or quick take-out you were planning on eating anyway, but with company and away from your desk.

You’re not nearly as crunched for time as you think

When I started working from home, I added things to my schedule that I always felt like I didn’t have time for when I worked at an office: Morning reading and devotionals, workouts, lunchtime activities, stuff that isn’t big in of itself, but seems enormous when you’ve got the pressure of work in front of you.

I’m putting in even more hours now than I did at my last job, and that’s not for lack of trying before I got here. And yet that extra time is not because of or exacerbated by the new things that I’ve added to my schedule. They are not stressors or causes of time crunches, they are happy new additions that keep me motivated and happy for even longer stretches.

But we build things like workouts, learning, prayer and personal reflection up in our minds as one more thing that we have to do when we’re already crunched for time. And because we only emphasize the downside of the loss of a little extra sleep, getting a few more things knocked out for work, or ‘me time’ (which in a lot of cases is just trying to find the final boss of the internet), we miss out on true personal growth and enjoyment opportunities.

Walls are the devil

No matter how much equipment and decoration I’ve pulled into my new office space, I still have one giant wall that I can’t figure out what to do with besides my all-important whiteboard. It probably mostly springs from the room I took over than anything – an extra space built more as a bedroom than an office. There’s a lot more space than you might normally have to deal with for decorating an office for one.

One way or another, blank walls are the worst, and I’ve got a huge one I’m still trying to figure out. Any favorite moves or tips you have for taking up a pretty sizable one are hugely appreciated in the comments.

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