Making it Work from Home
By Darlene Patten, Senior University Specialist
Let’s face it. Change is always around the corner. Just when you are comfortable and used to your environment, everything changes. My newest change or should I say challenge was moving to a home office. This is something that many of us have faced and it will be happening even more often in the future. The ultimate benefits are great, but getting to the point of productivity and getting into a new routine is a bit of a challenge.
The most important thing you need to do prior to moving to a home office is to set up an environment that is comfortable and efficient enough for you to be a productive worker. Finding the right room or niche in your house with the right lighting is the key, as well as setting up your desk and making sure you have a comfortable chair. Even if you are walking down the hall to go to work, you want this environment to be separate as your work environment.
The Actual Move
One of the biggest challenges of moving to a home office is of course the move itself. What do you bring home? What do you need? Besides the supplies and equipment you will be bringing home, a big consideration is the paper work you have accumulated over the years. Depending on how you already have your work environment organized, this may not be much of a challenge. However, if you are like me and you have accumulated a ton of paper work over the years, it can prove to be a little more of a daunting task and time consuming.
The good news is that this is the perfect opportunity to get rid of the paper work that has been bogging you down. The truth is….you probably don’t need it anymore.
Working in Epicor University, I have often printed out the documents I am creating, updating, or testing. It was my personal way of organizing my work. But, every job I work on can be found and displayed in a dashboard on our network. I can sort and list jobs assigned to me, find the due date, and find any supporting information without shuffling through papers.
All the deliverables I work on can be found online. If I have an Epicor University course or user guide to update or to test, the latest source files are available through our network and I can create and display a PDF file of the latest version on a second screen as I make my updates. I can also display the Application Help linked to the Epicor software to see the latest changes before I make any updates. Using a content management system to update deliverables means the latest files will always be available including any changes made by my co-workers.
Even finding instructions on how to perform those tasks that you haven’t performed in a year can be found easily in a guideline on the network. Doing a few searches trumps finding the right folder or pile of paper where you last placed your printed out instructions. And of course, moving important email in Outlook to an appropriate directory is a much easier way of finding it later than printing it out and searching through piles of paper.
Paper won’t forever be gone from my life, but moving to a home office is an opportunity for a new start. And, preparing for the move, I realized that it felt exhilarating to leave the paper behind.
After the Move
After the move, there were a few adjustments to make before I became productive and comfortable, but once everything was set up and running, I definitely feel the benefits outweigh the challenges.
- Benefits – No morning or afternoon commute, saving money for gas and insurance, easier to attend early meetings and to monitor any situations after hours
- Challenges – Household noise (dogs DO bark), feeling of confinement, lack of social interaction
- Be sure your work environment is comfortable and efficient with as much privacy as possible.
- Take breaks away from your desk (including walks).
- Keep in contact with co-workers online.
- Keep it organized (an opportunity to not reproduce all those records you threw away!)