I’ve decided that working from home is way easier during the winter than it is during the summer. During the cold and snowy months, the fact that I can plausibly go days at a time without leaving my house is a blessing. During the fun months of summer, it’s more of a curse. Specifically:
- All my clients go out of town during the summer — but they still want work to proceed as normal. This means that I spend more time trying to keep things running smoothly, without being able to get in touch with the client.
- If clients aren’t insistent that work carry on like normal, they are completely MIA. Missing clients mean my work slows, which often means that I can’t give work to the people below me. Happy Summer! You’re not going to make any money until September!
- Problems that are small in the winter are catastrophic during the summer (because communication is so much more difficult). It makes it hard to go play outside when you feel like you should be watching your phone like a hawk.
Nevertheless, I’ve devised a few fail-safe* strategies to make working from home during the summer months tolerable. Check it out:
- I go on vacation like a normal person — I just work on those vacations.
Our big trip for the year is going to be in November and I
don’t try not to work over the winter holidays. During the summer, however, I try to stay available as much as possible. I know that clients get sort of sketch about saying in touch during the fun months, so I want to make sure that I don’t miss anything important. It doesn’t mean I don’t travel;I just plan to work while I’m away.
- I’m honest and upfront with my workers about what’s going to happen and try to mitigate the problems.
Some people get very antsy about the “summer slow down,” especially if they don’t know what’s going. To try and keep everyone calm, I’m honest with my workers and make sure that I give them as much work as I possibly can.
- I unplug.
Sometimes, I need to completely unplug work/the internet/two dots. So I put my phone and computer on a separate floor and call it a night. Sure, sometimes that means that I wake up the next morning with an (irrationally) angry email thread in my inbox, but that’s okay. The mental break is more important than the occasional angry message.
- I let my clients know what’s what and I don’t try to control their reaction.
My current email signature has my “office hours.” It looks like this:
And it will change over the summer as my hours change. I make sure that clients know when I’m around but I don’t get stressed out about their reactions.
- I work as little as possible.
Let’s be real here. No one likes working over the summer. So I try to work as little as possible. Sure, the bills get paid and the work gets done, but I’m not working 60 hour weeks when I could be playing outside.
*Snort. Nothing is fail-safe.