26 Sep

Taking Off(ice)

By Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive

Ah….summer. Summer conjures up so many images– lazy days by the pool, trips to amusement parks, quality bonding time with the kiddos and– working from home as needed while the kids take the dogs for walks and clean their rooms and do household chores all the while leaving you alone to concentrate and get your work for a Cincinnati-based marketing and communications agency done, right? Maybe, but not in this house.

Let me preface this by saying that overall, my daughters are really pretty good. For real. But they are human and after several weeks of summer, even they get restless. And, since they regard me as their own personal clown, mediator, cook and launderer, I am called upon SEVERAL times a day to do something, ANYTHING for them and it gets old.

Having said that, and just coming off a summer school break, I have a few tips I would like to share with you based on my own personal experience occasionally working from home this summer alongside two girls, two dogs and one aquatic African dwarf frog named Frank Sinatra.

  • HIDE. Yes, hide if you can. Unfortunately, for me my office is located in what should have been a sitting room at the front of our house. So, I sit in full view with no doors to shut out noise or even visually indicate that I don’t want to be bothered. My husband was much smarter. He cleverly decided to put HIS home office in the unfinished storage room in our basement – with a door that shuts. Where he is all but forgotten – out of sight, out of mind.
  • RELOCATE the interrupters. Weather permitting, send the dogs and kids outside. Or to a different floor of the house. Then, glare at them and use dramatic hand and arm gestures to shoo them away when they re-appear minutes after they’ve been banished and you are on a call with a client. Because they simply can’t remember that you are WORKING for more than a few minutes at a time.
  • BREAK IT UP. This goes for both quarrels and the hours of the day. I found it is very helpful to set a schedule and expectations and get out of the house for at least a little bit each day. Hit the library on your lunch break. Hang it up at 5:00 if possible and head to the pool for an hour. Take a late afternoon trip to Sweet Frog, Orange Leaf or YoLo. The promise of a frozen yogurt treat once in a while works wonders.
  • BE THANKFUL. Most important tip of all? Be thankful if you have the opportunity/flexibility to work from home as needed. Work environments have changed drastically over the years thanks to laptops, email, etc. and most people are not as tied to a physical 9 to 5 traditional office setting anymore due to our ability to work remotely when/if needed. This is a great and wonderful shift in our work attitude and one I fully appreciate.

Tell me, what are your tips for balancing work and home life? How do you work from home successfully?