Every morning, I wake up, get myself ready, wake my son up, get him ready, then head off on my 20 mile commute. But, this isn’t your ordinary commute. I drive 10 miles to daycare, drop off my son, then head right back home. You see, I work from home, and most weeks those trips to daycare are the only time I leave my house during the work week. To give you some background, I began working for Trevelino/Keller in 2007. At the time, I was living in Atlanta and at the office every day. Fast forward 18 months and my husband received an offer we couldn’t refuse in Washington, DC. I was heartbroken to leave T/K, but knew it was best for us. I took a job at another public relations agency in DC, and spent the next six months making a name for myself there. Then, out of the blue T/K called. A new lifestyle client had come on board and they were based in the DC metro area. “Would I like to come back to T/K and work remotely?” The joke in the office, even still to this day, was that it took me less than three seconds to scream “YES!” It’s been a little more than five years now, and another move which has us in Orlando, but I’m still going strong with this working remotely gig.
It’s taken some time, but I’ve learned a lot, and thought I’d share with you a few best practices for making it work.
1. Have a real office. Find a space in your house/apartment/condo/townhouse and make it your own. Make it separate from the rest of your living space. This means closing a door or blocking it off, whatever works so that you feel like you are “leaving” the office every day. This will go a long way in helping ease the trapped feeling of always being in your house.
2. Set your hours. For some reason, I find it much easier to work through lunch, or work late into the night because I don’t have to go anywhere. My food is in the fridge, and I’m already home. I initially had difficulty setting boundaries for myself, and found myself working all hours of the night because I never had to leave to go home. Setting hours to start and end your day is important. Just because you work at home, doesn’t mean you don’t need a proper work/life balance.
3. Get face time. I’m lucky that I have the most wonderful coworkers, who I love to see as often as possible. It’s important to make that time, and there’s multiple ways to do it. Besides the week long trips to Atlanta every few weeks, we also utilize video conferencing for even the most mundane calls. It not only helps me to quell the loneliness, but sometimes it’s just easier to work through a situation when you can see the other person and share computer screens.
About Christy Olliff
Christy is an Account Director at T/K, based in Orlando, FL. She leads the agency’s health practice, but also focuses on lifestyle and consumer brands. She’s a mom, cheese lover, ex fashion industry minion and avid Georgia Bulldog fan!