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Transitioning From Working At An Office, To Working From Home


As I write this, I am at home. I’m in my messy room, using my currently chaotic desk. I have been on leave from work for a week or so and am still getting used to working from home. I am on leave from work, as a soon to be mom, but like most of life the work emails and phone calls do not stop right away. The work I am doing has slowed down, and there are people to handle most things, but there are things I am still wrapping up and responsible for. So… I am trying to figure out how to shift my brain from being at home getting things done for my soon to be born baby and getting work done. I didn’t think it would be hard to create a work environment at home, but I have already learned that I need to set a few rules for myself.

At work, I am a very organized person. Everything is in its place so I can grab it at a moments notice when I need to refer to something. At home… I try really hard to be this way but I will be the first to admit that my home is mostly clean and tidy with piles here and piles there, I am really bad about piles. But… now that I am working at home, I am spending some of my time organizing. If I try to devote some time organizing and cleaning, then I will feel more like I am at work, so when it is time to do work I don’t already feel chaotic and disorganized. So for me, and perhaps your first step, is to get rid of the piles of stuff that just sit around, and to really go through what you have that needs to be put away.

I personally need a work space. When I work on a gig, I have a work space that is mine, I have all my supplies around and I usually try to add a personal touch or two. If you have worked with me, you have probably seen my Gizmo figurine or my Mr. T USB. I create a space of organization but also a space that is me, in order to get myself to a place where I can get the most work done.

I guess it is time I cleaned off my desk, which is currently covered in paperwork piles, old office supplies, sunglasses, and other randomness. One of the bonuses of going through the old piles is that I found a Jamba Juice giftcard… so that is a win! Who knows what is hidden in your piles of stuff?

Once my desk is cleared, I will be able to come to my at-home workspace whenever I have work to do. For me this is helpful, it’s away from the tv and its not a shared space like working at the kitchen table. I can spread out what I am working with and not worry that I am taking up too much space, or that something will get lost.

Another key thing for me while working at home, is turn off the tv. I used to think I could have it on in the background and still be productive. Nope. I need to turn it off and not think about it. Sometimes I have a hard time with silence, so I usually play music, and that does the trick. I play a variety so I don’t get bored or find myself always listening to the same style. Part of playing music is creating the environment for myself. It goes hand in hand with having a dedicated organized space, with a few personal touches, this all helps me focus and not get distracted.

I have another trick that I do… and will try to be really good about doing as I adjust to working from home, I turn of the internet if I am not doing something that involves using the internet. I know… how do I function? Actually, I function a lot better. This gives me no way to make an excuse about checking Instagram or any other site that can create a major time suck. I know, it can be hard to “go off the grid.”

…But don’t forget to take breaks! Check your emails, or Facebook. Maybe go outside, play with your dog. If you were at work you might get coffee or chat with a coworker to break up your day, so make sure when you are at home you are also taking breaks! Just, make sure they are breaks and not long distractions.

Okay… so now I need to take my own advice. I really need to organize my desk. I have pretty much started to put my other advice into practice….but I really would like to get the piles off of my desk so that I have space to create my space that will ultimately help me go from dealing with life to working on work!

As a newbie to working from home, rather then at an office or on set, I would love any additional tips you use to stay creative and productive.

Ashleigh Nichols

About Ashleigh Nichols

Ashleigh Nichols resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Eddie, and their Chihuahua mix, Nova. Together they work on their own projects as a wife-husband directing/producing/writing team. Through Owlet Pictures, they created the web series Coffee Shop Squatters, and the award winning short film Summer of the Zombies. Ashleigh is also working on a dramatic feature and creating a new web series, set to shoot later this year. While not working on her own projects, Ashleigh is currently an in house Production Manager at Ampersand Media. Before going in house she Production Managed several shows/Pilots for Comedy Central, HBO Go and Vh1, some of these include: The Jeselnik Offensive, The Burn, The Ben Show, Brody Stevens: Enjoy It! and Parental Discretion S2. Ashleigh is also honored to have Co-Produced the indie film The Historian, currently touring on the festival circuit.