With all of the different ways to stay connected remotely, more and more employees are finding opportunities to work from home. For a full-time RVer who also maintains a full-time job, being able to work remotely is an important aspect of creating this lifestyle. But there are key differences between working in an office and working at home. Whether that home is your sticks-and-bricks house or an RV, there are some adjustments that can take some getting used to.
Work from Home Environment
In some ways, the freedom of working at home is amazing. You don’t have to worry about what to wear each day, there’s no commute, and you can start your day whenever you want to. But there are some challenges to this setup as well.
In a typical office job, you’re working in a physical office, likely with many other coworkers nearby. There’s a set routine to your day – you get ready, drive to the office, and work at your desk for all or most of the day. You’re expected to arrive by a certain time, take your lunch break at a certain time, and go home at the end of the day.
When you work at home, depending on the specifics of your job, you can start and end your day whenever you want to and take breaks whenever you want. You pretty much set your own schedule. There’s no clock to punch or coworkers paying attention to what time you show up or when you start working.
For some people, this freedom of setting your own schedule is liberating, but for others it can be a real challenge. If no one really knows when you’re starting your day, how hard will it be each day for you to motivate yourself?
Here are some thoughts and tips on how to make the adjustment to a home-based office.
Create a Routine
One thing that really helps me switch from “pajama mode” to “work mode” each day is just the simple act of actually getting out of my pajamas in the morning. When I first started working at home, I wasn’t always too good about doing this. I’d just roll out of bed, get a cup of coffee, and fire up the laptop.
The problem with this was I found that I generally felt somewhat unfocused. There were more days than I’d care to admit when 5:00 would roll around and I’d still be in my pajamas.
So I created a different routine for myself on days when I worked at home. Even if I know I’ll be at home alone all day and the only person I’ll likely see is my spouse, when I wake up on workdays, the first thing I do is wash my face and put on some real clothes. Then grab my coffee and start my workday. This small habit really helps me stay more focused throughout the day.
Establish a Schedule
Even if you technically can start working at whatever time you want to, it helps to still establish a schedule each morning. I make a point to be logged in and at my computer by 7:00 each morning. Setting an established “start” time helps me shift into work mode.
It’s also important to make sure you schedule breaks throughout the day. It’s all too easy to just keep working right through lunch. I’ve found that when I do this, I tend to get unfocused towards the end of the day. Setting a time to walk away from my desk, grab some lunch, or walk the dogs, actually helps me to stay more focused for the second part of my day.
Know When to Turn Off
When you’re working at home and don’t have to worry about being the last person out the door, or beating the traffic on the way home, it can be hard to remember to “turn off” work mode at the end of the day. Unless you’re working up against a deadline, try to set a common time for your work day to end.
Combatting Work from Home Distractions
Unless you live by yourself, there will be distractions while you work at home. Whether it’s your spouse or partner or children who will come running to you every time they need something, distractions are bound to happen. Even your pets may be more demanding of your time when you’re available to them all day.
So it’s important to set some boundaries for your work space and time.
Have a Dedicated Workspace
If you’re in a house, you may have a spare bedroom you can use for an office. This allows you to shut the door when you need to concentrate. In an RV, it may be more of a challenge to find a private area, but having a space that is dedicated to your work area is important.
We’ve shared some more ideas here for home office workspaces!
Set Boundaries with Others in Your Home
When you’re at your desk, make sure everyone in your household is onboard with respecting your work time. Even if you’re sitting right in front of them, make sure your spouse, children, or roommates understand that when you’re at work, you need to concentrate on work. Just as they would if you left for work each day, they should respect your work time.
Don’t Distract Yourself
Another common distraction is the daily tasks you normally do at home – such as doing laundry, walking dogs, cleaning up the kitchen. At first, I tried to tackle some of my home tasks during regular working hours. But I learned that it really is best if I just leave those things for the end of the day, or the weekends, just like I did when I went to an office. I might occasionally still sneak in a load of laundry or something quick, but for the most part, my work time is my work time. Making an effort to leave the other stuff for a different party of the day helps improve my focus.
Making the transition from a traditional office to a home office can be difficult. Following the tips above should make the transition a lot easier, and will hopefully be one more step on your path to becoming a full-time RVer.
Want to learn more about remote work and the future of work-from-home opportunities? Take a look at this webinar from Escapees RV Club with Camille Attell of Remote Work School.