The Moving How-To

Five ways to work from home when your home is moving.

By Kate Shipley

This week’s Work From Home How-To is part of our Work From Home Series, where we share some of our favorite things about working from home and have the opportunity to connect with you on a more personal level.

Working from home is the best. Until your home is moving. When that happens, it’s not just about the boxes, and the packing paper, and the ten cat toys that were unearthed under a couch that hadn’t been moved in years. It’s also about learning a new city, a new routine—even a new time zone! For anyone who may also be making a move (or making the switch from office work to remote work), here are my top five tips on working from home when your home has moved to a new place.

1. Unpack

It may sound obvious, but seriously, give yourself time to unpack and settle in. (If you’re transitioning into working from home, give yourself time to set up your space.) Feeling comfortable and productive in a space can take time, and it might mean that you need to have things just-so. Take the first day or two to put everything in its place (this might mean cleaning, organizing, and re-organizing) so you feel like you’re actually working from a home, not a cardboard box factory.

2. Learn Your New Home

The same way you have to get used to the sounds that bump in the middle of the night in a new place, when you’re working from home, you’ll want to know what sounds to expect at 2 PM on a Tuesday. Can you hear your neighbor’s garage door when she takes her dog to the dog park every morning? Is there a landscaping company that makes their weekly leaf-blower visit right in the middle of your conference calls? Did you set up your office in a room that gets way too hot? Learning the ins and outs of your new place will help you create a new routine that works for you.

3. Test-Run New Coffee Shops

Identifying a new go-to coffee shop or away-from-home work location can be really important—both from an “I’m going stir crazy” aspect, but also for when the landscapers arrive with their leaf-blowers. Before you decide on your spot, though, I recommend checking them out, first. There’s nothing worse than getting all set up for an afternoon of focused, productive work at your local Cup O’ Joe, only to discover that the barista gets to pick the music, and today they picked heavy metal. Better to test the waters beforehand. Stop by for a quick cup or bite to eat (Do they even have food? I need to know before spending the whole day!) so you don’t have to pick up and leave in the middle of getting those reports pulled.

4. Find Your Favorite Station

When you don’t have a commute, you don’t really need the morning traffic report, but picking a favorite local news or radio station can still be important (even if you prefer streaming). Especially if you don’t have other errands that take you out on a daily basis, having a go-to news channel can help you feel connected. Pick an anchor-person you like listening to and a weather team with accurate predictions. Find out when they announce the community calendar, and learn which broadcast fits your schedule best. Tuning in to the local stations may feel outdated, but it’s an easy way to speed up your transition and learn more about your new community.

5. Go Outside and Talk to People

Working from home may start off as a blessing during a move (you can work from anywhere, and you don’t have to get a new job just because you’ve changed cities!), but it can quickly turn into a trap. If it’s been three weeks and you haven’t met anyone other than the mailman and your next-door neighbor—go outside and talk to people! Building a new network of friends and acquaintances can make you feel more connected and less new-kid-on-the-block. (If you’re transitioning into working from home, learn which friends are available for a lunch date or afternoon coffee.) Making friends isn’t necessarily a work-tip, but it will make your home feel less like solitary confinement, and it may help you build a community of remote workers, which will make your workday easier in the long run.

When your home-office moves, it’s not just your personal life that gets packed up. Working from home means that you’ll have to deal with change both personally and professionally, which can be stressful. Creating a new routine as quickly as possible worked well for me—what works for you? If you have a trick for settling into a new home office, let me know in the comments below.

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