Many people over the last year have gotten a taste of working from home, often due to temporary arrangements. And you might be in a position where you get to work from home some of the time; for example, you might work from home exclusively on Fridays.
But what happens when you transition to working from home permanently?
Depending on your personal preferences, this could be a huge positive or a huge negative. You might love the idea of never having to deal with traffic again – or you might feel despair at the thought of missing out on all those casual water cooler conversations.
No matter what, you’ll have to adapt. And there are a number of things you’ll need to do to work from home effectively, efficiently, and happily.
How to Prepare to Work From Home Permanently
These are some of the most important things to do if you’re about to work from home permanently:
1. Research different cities
If you can work from home permanently, you can live literally anywhere. You don’t have to remain in your current city to continue working for this employer. Because of that, it’s a good idea to research different cities that you could call home. If you currently live in a big city on the west coast, moving to the Midwest or to a rural town in the middle of nowhere could drastically reduce your housing expenses. That’s not the right move for everyone, but it could put you in a much better financial position.
2. Establish a home office
Wherever you choose to live, you should purchase a home where you can set up an official home office – instead of just working from the dining room table or your own bedroom. Having a designated space for “work” will help you delineate between work time and relaxation time, and can end up making you more productive. You don’t need a huge office, but you should have a space separate from the rest of your house.
3. Shop for the right furniture
Next, you need to find a reliable online furniture store where you can shop for high-quality furniture. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in your office, so you might as well be comfortable. On top of that, the right furniture can help you maintain good posture, reducing your risk of injury or chronic pain for the foreseeable future. Invest in a good desk and a good chair at a minimum.
Be prepared to negotiate, at least a little, for what you want. If you’re transitioning to work from home permanently, you’re likely entering a new role or working with a new group of people. This is your chance to push for a higher salary or more flexibility in your role.
5. Set expectations with your boss and coworkers
Take the time to talk to your boss and coworkers about what you should all expect. How often are you supposed to be “online” and available? Are you supposed to work firm hours or just make sure all your assigned tasks get done? Be proactive and clear on this front to avoid miscommunications and disagreements later.
6. Set expectations with the family
You’ll also want to have a frank conversation with your family members (and anyone else you live with). When is it permissible to interrupt you when you’re working? What are your work hours and how should everyone respect those?
7. Have a plan for socialization
Even if you love the idea of working from home in your quiet, personal paradise, there’s a good chance you’ll have to deal with loneliness at some point. Accordingly, you should have a plan for socialization. How often will you reach out to others and communicate with them? Will you have a way to make new friends?
8. Don’t get too attached to that “permanent” status
Anything can change. You could lose your job, grow to hate this position, or the company could collapse. Don’t take that “permanent” work from home status too literally; there’s a chance you’ll actually want to go back to the office at some point.
Expecting the Unexpected
It’s impossible to predict exactly how your remote work experience is going to go. You may start out loving the total silence of your isolated home office, but eventually switch to listening to background music for much of the day. You may start out with a strict morning routine that eventually collapses into chaos. No matter what, you should be prepared to face some changes and natural evolutions that impact how you work and live. Remain flexible and adaptable, and you’ll be in a much better position to handle those issues if and when they arise.