Working from home can be a blessing. However, there are times when it can also be a challenge. I’ve learned to balance my work space within my home after several years of trying to figure it out.
As an employee of Kaiser Permanente Professional Coding Support Services, I have the privilege of working from home. I’m going on 8 years working from home as a medical coder! Though there are many benefits such as no commuting traffic, spending much less on gas, and eating home cooked lunches, there are challenges. Some of those challenges are –
- Being accessible, or inaccessible rather, to my family on days we are all in the home together, such as holidays or summer vacations, is a challenge.
- Another challenge is drawing a line between “mom is home” and “mom is at work.” This boundary is often blurred.
- A common challenge is juggling unexpected pop-in visits during working hours.
I’ve learned 3 important tips:
1. Have a schedule – for the family. I have my work schedule and now I need to make sure the family is “busy” too. During the holidays and Summer, scheduling their homework time, reading time, community activities, and other activities keep my house quiet enough for me to work without interruptions.
2. Teach kids (and your partner) to be self sufficient. For example, I don’t make their lunches, sandwiches, or pour their juices. My children’s ages vary from young adult to young child. They can certainly do some of these things on their own. It’s even better when they help each other. Helping each other is simply something we must do in our family. That doesn’t mean that they won’t ask you first! Remember your answer is, “Mom is at work.”
3. Wear headphones – big ones! With large headphones on your family will spot them from across the room. This does three things. First, the family can see you are listening to something, maybe a meeting, maybe an informational radio broadcast, whatever it is, it shows that you’re not listening to the family at that moment. Secondly, they stay quiet because they think you are listening to something important. Lastly, it keeps you from getting distracted with what’s going on around you.
The future of working from home
Although its benefits have been debated in recent years, I believe we will see an increase in the number of employees working from home in the years to come. With the effects from COVID-19, employers are seeing that working from home is not only possible but it is necessary. If you believe you can complete your work from home, you have secured internet or ethernet, and are self-sufficient and self-motivated, then now is the time to ask your employer to establish a work from home policy. BuiltIn, a tech recruitment company, has a really good article outlining the points needed to develop a work from home plan. Read about it here.
Working from home has been a benefit to Kaiser Permanente and to our co-workers. Along with the benefits, we do need to be mindful of the challenges and be best prepared for working from home throughout the year.
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