The Fluid Home Office
by Trey Harris, Dynamic North
If you have returned to the office recently, and then unexpectedly had to work from home again, you have experienced the concept of “fluidity.” The ability to change work modes without skipping a beat is a skill that many of us have acquired as a result of working through this pandemic. What are some of the hallmarks of a fluid home office?
Confession: I often work from a small desk in my boys’ bedroom. It’s not ideal, but it’s a space that I can convert in a heartbeat. All I really have to do is make up their bed and scoop some dirty shorts off the floor. As long as you have a private, somewhat isolated room in your house, you’re good to go. The main consideration here is comfort, and a professional background for video conferencing. Try to position yourself away from hallways and doors where your family members pass through. You don’t want your Zoom session to go viral because of a streaker in your background! Sheesh.
The Same Computer
Depending on your company’s IT setup, it’s usually best to use the same machine at home as you work on at the office. For me, it’s a laptop that I carry around with me everywhere in my Timbuk2 shoulder satchel. I never slow down, because everything is the same at home as in the office. No fussing with web versions of email, cloud folders that operate differently, etc. If I can access WiFi, and because I have the same computer, I’m working in the exact same way I do at the office.
Regular “Office” Hours
It’s so easy to cheat on this one. But it’s not cheating anyone but yourself. If you don’t stay true to your usual work hours, it typically elongates your day because you’ll stretch working into 6:00 or 7:00 pm. And a longer day, at the very least, will weigh heavy on your soul. Whenever I work from home, I find that waking up at the usual time, shaving/showering, dressing for work and starting on time works wonders for my productivity. These everyday steps to prep my day allow me to feel like and work like a professional. I’m ready to meet a client if necessary, or jump on a video call without delay. I even keep lunch noon-1:00 pm in the family kitchen. Some habits are good to keep, and I am convinced these are some of them.
Whether you’re on a new office/home work schedule, or just on a temporary “stay home” policy, addressing your home office to be as fluid as possible is a worthwhile use of your time.