by PAUL BICKLEY
The pandemic has ushered the home office to the forefront of work life. Gallup, Inc., indicated last October that 33% of the U.S. workforce worked from home full time and another 25% did so some of the time. Three veteran Bloomington work-from-homers offer their tips for novices to the practice.
All three have had children at home while working, and they’ve all devoted a room to workspace, making consistent use of the door. “I know that I am in there to work,” says Wes Lasher, owner of The Production House. “That helps me focus.”
They’ve also followed routines for beginning and ending the workday. Lasher, 50, who has worked full time from home for five years, begins his day by dressing for work and talking with his daughter before entering his workspace. “The routine helps reset your mind,” he says.
Michael Korus, 45, owner of MAXIM Real Estate, INC., and the events venue Sycamore Farm has worked from home since 2006 and relies on schedules to organize his workload. “I’m trying to streamline, trying to finish projects before starting new ones. Using calendars helps.”
Lasher, however, adheres to a daily structure: emailing early and editing video and writing later.
While Lasher begins and ends each day at the same time, Jean Dayton, former owner of Dayton Bookings: Literary Tours and Promotions, took a different approach during her 20 years working from home. “My day started when I got my first phone call,” says Dayton, 65. “It takes more discipline to stop. When I did stop, I closed the door from the other side.”
Work-life balance has challenged all three work-from-homers. “It’s easy to let work slip into all aspects of your life,” Dayton says. “I decided to have only a desktop computer. I couldn’t carry it around.” Korus suggests scheduling family time and after-work social Zoom meetings. Lasher’s work computer automatically shuts down at 6 p.m.
Sometimes, special, inspiring objects in home offices can help workers get through the day. Lasher prefers tchotchkes: a frog figurine with a yen in its mouth and Funko Pop! bobbleheads. “The frog is blessing the income where I do my bookkeeping, and the bobbleheads are fun to look at,” he says. “We work so we can have some fun.”