When I first started Stax – I worked from home. We started in the kitchen of the place I shared with two roommates in the South End, Boston; then the sunroom of the place we got in Brookline; then the basement of the two family I bought in Somerville, where I worked alone in the basement through a long Boston winter (the old ones that were really cold). Isolation can be tough (this was the 90s, no video, no real Internet, no meme sharing). By the time we moved, I was even spotlighted in a Wall Street Journal article Working at Home Can Be Fun Until It Engulfs Your Space.
What helped me first and immensely in the early days was advice from my friend Aaron. He said he could always tell who was at home working in their pajamas. The person who worked remotely who Aaron most admired told him that she had a solid routine, go out for a coffee and come back to work, even when work is your house. I did that for a while, ‘cept it was the Japonaise Bakery in Brookline. Coffee, baguettes, and a younger metabolism. By the time I moved to Somerville, building out the basement for the office, working on the business, back to the working on the house – there was a lot less time, so I just made the coffee, cereal, cleaning up, getting dressed routine like I was going in work. Gave me clarity that I was in the ‘office.’
Today is a bit harder, because of social distancing. So, the social element of not seeing folks is tough and must be more so for folks who live alone. For those of who already co-habitat, we have the benefit of our families and then trying to jostle the calls with the family discussions, being the person you are supposed to be at home, and having the focus and mojo you’re supposed to have at work. Nothing makes a conference call on a negotiation, like the additional, “daddy can I help you with work?”
So, what to do? Really – you read this far and thought I’d have the answers? Not by a long shot.
A few ideas, but no real answers.
Have a good night and day at the home office.