Blog post number 2 in our Work from Home series: Dani is KHIT’s Lead Data Analyst and has been with the company over a year. This is her story of the transition to a work-from-home setup, complete with tips!
After years of working with children, life threw me a curveball and I transitioned to a regular office setting job. It was a very hard adjustment for me. Sitting all day in harsh overhead lighting. Wondering how some of these people with positions above me managed to make it through life. No fresh air. Feeling guilty getting up from my cubicle outside of my scheduled breaks. Finding socially appropriate things to say to my coworkers. Steaming after being moved to a new cubicle away from the window that I was so very fond of daydreaming near (my family got me a red stapler to display in silent protest). I wasn’t very happy, but I made the best of it.
I started working part-time for KHIT about a year into that job. Juggling all of my home responsibilities and working two jobs wasn’t easy. In January of 2020 I was offered full time work with KHIT and I couldn’t have been more relieved, excited or scared. I jumped in with both feet.
I live in a rural area with less than reliable internet so, until I could harass our local service provider to stretch the cords that would link my house to the current century, I worked from our “home-base” in Katie’s home office most days. I was able to ease into the working from home scene. I would schedule my days similar to those working in a more traditional setting. Once the internet was connected and all of our worlds changed this spring, I was home. On my own. By myself. I love it.
While I am still learning what routines work for me and how to schedule my days, I feel more productive than ever. My stress level has plummeted. Some days, I take my computer outside to a picnic table in the shade and have chickens sleeping on the table top next to me. Most others, I am at my desk with a dog at my feet or cat peeking from behind the screen of my laptop. When I need a break, I take one. I take a walk (with my crazy hounds) without asking for permission. If I want to move my desk (and red stapler) to the living room where I have three windows instead of one, I do just that.
I may log fewer hours per day than the typical 8 hour day, however, my hours are time spent actively working and not consumed with wishing I were someplace else or with office social constructs I don’t usually understand. I might be at my table at 10:30p on a Sunday evening under the warm glow of my desk lamp, if I have a deadline. I may also be sweating at the grocery with a two page list from my grandmother at 10:30am on a Friday. (Was it the bran flakes or the crunchy raisin bran?)
Some days, though? My dogs are underfoot and my cats won’t stay off my keyboard and why is there hair everywhere and the chickens have scratched up the sunflowers I just planted and why is there no good food in my fridge and all I can see is the dust on my baseboards and the tiny spiders taking residence in the corners of the rooms where the ceiling meets the walls and I still don’t know who leaves all of these dishes in the sink and when was it I last left the house?
On those days, I have to literally get up and walk out of the house and take a (dog-free) walk or drive with the windows down and reflect on why I am feeling that way. Usually, it’s because I haven’t had enough exercise or mental stimulation outside of work and home chores. I am having fewer of those days. I am also learning that as flexible as my schedule allows me to be, I need some non-negotiables and things to remember.
Dani’s (current) Non-negotiables:
- I need to do some sort of morning movement.
- I need to do my morning hygiene. Yes, EVERY. DAY. Even if I’m not going anywhere.
- I need to change out of my jambos and put on some day clothes.
- I need to take regular meal breaks away from my workspace.
- I need to set an alarm in the morning.
Dani’s things to remember:
- Just because my computer is sitting there, I don’t have to work.
- I don’t have to say yes to all of the lunches or coffees just because I work from home.
- If a task or event is important to me, I need to put it on the calendar.
- Regulate and Hydrate.
One thing I know is that taking this job has turned my world on edge and was the best decision I could have made for myself. I will keep getting better at balancing home life and work-from-home life. There are about 46,975 tips online regarding working from home and usually the Google doesn’t fail me. I’m also really good at learning lessons the hard way.