Working for yourself is the dream. Ammirite? Working by yourself can be tougher.
If you’re missing the corporate office environment, here’s some tips to get your home office on the same wavelength.
- Desk too comfortable? Try sawing an inch of one of the legs. Extra points for getting someone else to sabotage it, and spending hours figuring out what’s wrong, and how to fix it.
- Remove all forks from your kitchen. Eating your steak with a spoon takes you right back to the staff lunchroom.
- Install a security swiper (or make one from a cookie box). ‘Forget’ your swipe card once a fortnight, and knock loudly and increasingly desperately. Note: you may alarm small children and animals.
- Cleaning your microwave ends now. Be sure to cook uncovered tomato soup in there once a fortnight.
- Call a team meeting. Reschedule at least twice. Double book your meeting/lounge room. Stretch 5 minutes of work to allocated 90 minute meeting.
Note: if meeting scheduled for Monday morning, add a compulsory chat about weekends. You must have had a ‘big one’ or a ‘quiet one’. No additional detail required.
- Consolidate all stationery into single cupboard. Pens, pencils, notebooks, paperclips, staples, Post-its. Lock cupboard. To access stationery, submit request in writing to yourself with approval from your manager. Yes, that’s you.
- Sick of all that productivity and quiet? Loop in some construction noises.
Create your own social club. Host awkward afternoon teas for ‘significant’ events with compulsory Woollies mud cake.
Tip: Get inspired by the Trump inauguration (words I never thought I’d use) and go with a styrofoam celebration cake you can wheel out again and again.
- Create an elaborate pulley mechanism so a mannequin’s hand taps you on the shoulder every 5-7 minutes. Or randomise the tapping, so you live in constant threat of both interruption and your boss (yes, you) busting you on Seek.
- Commute when you don’t have to. Run late for bus, do complete loop of bus route, get back on bus. Walk quickly from bus stop to arrive hot and sweaty at home to start work.
Fire drills. Self-explanatory.
Tip: Get a friend to call the drill when you least expect it. Complement it with testing smoke alarms during important phone calls.
“Tip: Soloists should avoid trust falls as part of team building games.”
- Give yourself the occasional sickie or mental health day. It would be unAustralian not to. Research from Beyond Blue shows 1 in 5 Aussies had a mental health day in the last year. They also say mental health is a leadership issue and change starts from the top. So, consider it a management directive to take care of yourself. Report on it at your next team meeting.
- Allow yourself a day to scroll aimlessly through emails, achieve little, and realise no one notices. I call those days Tuesdays. And Wednesdays.
- Write an internal newsletter. Include articles written by staff (you) and management (you) lauding latest initiatives. Start with article on launching a newsletter.
Tip: Earn point for each use of: congratulations, excellence, contribution and commitment.
- Write up a dress code for the office. Flagrantly ignore dress code and awkwardly discuss with self.
- Sabotage your computer for some forced downtime while you wait on the IT help desk (you).
Tip: Unplugging is quick and easy. A quick fix helps the IT manager (also you) meet their KPIs. Write newsletter article on teamwork.
- Corporate up those walls. Remove anything of remote creativity. Replace with 1992 prints of non-offensive flowers, neither celebratory nor commiseratory.
- Advertise your role and reapply. Warning: after you read list of responsibilities, you might not want it. Make sure to list a vague ‘salary commensurate with experience’. Consider not shortlisting yourself for the role.
- CC yourself on pointless emails. Subject lines must be confusing and meaningless, preferably marked as URGENT with multiple exclamation marks (question marks also accepted).
Make threatening signs for the toilet about dropping paper towels on floor, and not treating it like a hotel. Include rhetorical questions about how hard it is to keep it clean.
Tip: Use ALL CAPS and bold, italicise and underline at will. Add to agenda for next team meeting.
- Organise some team building exercises. Try a team scavenger hunt where you search for a working printer and flexible working conditions.
Tip: Soloists should avoid trust falls as part of team games.
Feeling corporate again in your home office? You’re welcome.