Struggling With Working from Home?

One of the sectors I’m bearish on for the long-term is commercial real estate. The pandemic has shown many companies, from startups to multinationals, that having employees work from home is not so bad. For starters, it’s cost-efficient — which means it is better for the bottom line and for shareholders. It could allow companies with significant headcount to downsize the space they lease today. 

The Financial Post reported that Bank of Montreal, Canada’s fourth-largest bank, “anticipates that as much as 80 per cent of its staff — or about 36,000 employees — may adopt new flexible arrangements that blend working from home with going into the office.”

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, said that many of his employees will have the option to work from home forever. Many other corporations are contemplating allowing a significant portion of their workforce to work from home — after the pandemic is history…

That means many people/workers have a big lifestyle adjustment coming, entrepreneurs too. 

If you’re an entrepreneur and own an SME with 50 employees, and you know that at least half can permanently work from home, why would you sign a five- to ten-year lease on a massive office space? The ROI makes better sense allowing employees to work from home, at least on a rotational basis (I wrote about the shift to working from home 5 years ago — Covid19 has merely accelerated the shift). 

This work from home shift will likely even impact the hiring process for companies. I believe a job candidate’s willingness to work from home will become an asset — improving their chances of getting hired.

With the winds of change heading straight for the commercial real estate market, which could impact where you work, I want to shed some light on how I’ve worked productively from home. For some context, I’ve long been a work from home advocate — at least for one day a week (it goes back to the value of changing your work scenery). I also have young children who are often at home, so I can relate to all you work from home parents out there.

 

Three Keys to Mastering Working From Home

Remove lunch hour, but take several short breaks throughout the day

It’s hard to concentrate for long periods, no matter where you are. It’s especially hard while at home.

To maintain a high-level mental performance while working from home, you’ll need to take many short breaks throughout the day. For me, I need to take a break every 90 minutes. And it needs to be a real break — not a phone call break. 

My breaks usually involve two of the following three things when I’m working from home: Eating, walking, drinking water, coffee or tea. 

Walking helps you check out mentally, but it also inadvertently gives you the clarity needed for solving problems. 

Hydrating with water or tea is excellent because it provides energy and gives a sense of starting fresh when you get back to your desk. 

Lastly, you need to eat, so use two of your ten-minute breaks in the day to eat a light snack/meal. Smaller meals (as opposed to a big lunch break with a lot of food) keeps your energy and concentration up.  

Remember, many breaks throughout the day — just limit them to around 10 minutes. Any longer than that and you may find yourself fixing something around the house or vacuuming for no apparent reason.

 

Stay tight with your colleagues

Routinely check in with your colleagues to compare notes and to ensure general alignment with the group. This is vital. It keeps you honest and affirms everyone is rowing in the same direction. 

One major benefit of working from an office — in a group setting — is it enables the ability to walk over to a colleague’s desk to talk shop and collaborate — build on the fly, so to speak. Don’t lose that camaraderie with your teammates. And if you all like to get together for a drink on Friday’s, keep that routine.

 

Make your home workspace inspiring, beautiful, and perfect for you to perform

If it’s a spare bedroom conversion or a bonafide home office, invest in that space. Fully commit to making it the most idyllic work environment. Spend money on a posture supporting chair and desk, paint the walls an energetic color, invest in furniture and decor, etc. Spare no expense in your office. 

Akin to a fine mattress, there is no such thing as splurging on an office in my view. You spend damn near half your life there. This is your studio… make it an epic space.

 

Working From Home Has its Perks

Fully commit to working from home. For many of you, it’s your new reality, potentially for the long-term.

Dress your office up, stay close with colleagues, and remember your work cadence at home is different than in a typical office building. Take more breaks throughout the work day, but keep them short. Lastly, if you have kids and are reading this article saying, “that’s all great, but I have kids,” I hear you…

Explain to your kids exactly what is happening in your home office and why they must respect the space. It’s incredible how seriously even a toddler takes a message like that. Encourage knocking before entering, set times where your kids can not interrupt, but also take advantage of being home. On one or two of your 10-minute walk breaks, take the kids with you!

Working from home is rewarding and challenging, and it can be surprisingly productive if done right.

Stay hungry,

 

 

 

Aaron

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