Working from home is one of the most brilliant and challenging things to do as a recruiter. Recruitment is almost a perfect industry for working from home. For me, it is now coming up to four years working from home.
This time has really been both a blessing and a curse. Blessed that I could have so much and cursed because there are so many ways that working from home can be tough. As someone who is busy can be a be anxious and somewhat crazy at times working at home really does offer to throw up some challenges.
Before working from home permanently, I had worked from home on occasions before. So the idea of working it would be a breeze, easy and enlightening. So after ‘jacking in’ at my old company and starting my own company. When I got started in those first few months, the business consumed my attention with work and building my business to even really notice. It was a blast, I could come and go as I please, I did not have to deal with office politics, silly “management meetings”, putting money into birthday cards for people I did not know, care or like and all the other things that drove me mad about offices. Then one day something strange happened.
I realised something. I was sat at my desk and understood that I felt that something, that something nagged me and it was loneliness. The buzz, the conversations, the general office banter. These I missed because they This was a revelation that actually left me feeling very down and disheartened.
Over the next couple of years I would go through periods feeling lonely and depressed, and other times I would be infused with energy and excitement. This happened in waves while working from home. It leads to times of real business growth and other times that affected the business. However after a while and some trial and error I found ways to deal and cope with my own mental state that came from working from home.
Understand why you liked the office
Working in an office environment presents a wide range of problems, but on the other hand, working in a social office environment that we all love. Knowing what this is vitally important for learning how to cope with working from home. For me, it is the social side of being able to have some banter, conversations and noise and hum of activity. Once I knew this a plan was formulated.
Find public places to work
This was one of the first things I did was to start to work in public areas that allowed me to work. This can seem hard to for recruiters compared to other industries and jobs. You will be amazed how much you can get done in a couple of hours in a coffee shop or a pub. Even as a recruiter.
My biggest deal since running my business was put together while working from the bar of a local hotel with lovely big sofas and brilliant chips. The way that I found this worked was once or maybe twice a week for afternoon going and working in this or other locations I have scouted out using trial and error.
The reason I have found that these works are because it allows having a change of scenery. Which creates a shift in mindset. This change of pace, place and background noise really does change my thinking and mental state.
See friends and family more often than normal
One of the things that I certainly did not do enough when I first got going in the working from home, recruit gig was seeing enough of family and friends and doing social things. In many ways, I got really caught up in the business, and this was one of the biggest and most sad mistakes of my journey.
Not seeing friends and family enough was a mistake. Why is this so important? Without the office and without the daily interaction you could go days, weeks, even with just talking to candidate, clients and your other half. My other half is wonderfully, but it not conducive to a happy relationship, so make sure to make time for meaningful relationships.
Take a walk – often
This is something that I have found really useful. Getting out of the house at some point in the day. Taking a step gets you up from your desk, giving you the chance to unwind and also get perspective.
Perspective is something I am not very good at when I am stuck on my own without someone to bounce off. However, taking a quick walk allows me to stride out the problem, talk to myself about the issues and also get the blood pumping and fresh air in my lungs.
Find a hot-desking space
This is very similar to working in public areas but with a twist, it is more work focused (read more comfortable to make BD calls). I have spent a lot of time looking and working in a wide range of hot desking and drop in zones.
Some of these spaces are really funky others were really very dull. Some cost an arm and leg, other were cheap and chips. However, I have found that I have worked best in the spaces that allowed and encouraged human reaction and interaction and feel more like a startup space rather than a corporate office.
Have someone to bounce ideas off
Have someone to bounce ideas with and off. It is better if they do not work in recruitment. Indeed talking with another recruiter is likely to make you much more anxious and crazy because we all know what recruiters are like.
Why do you need someone to bounce ideas off? Perspective. You need perspective to know that the candidate not showing up for an interview is not the end of the world (it is never is). For me without a coworker to blow off, I would get really sidetracked and upset at what was happening.
Decide a start and home time…. Then Stick to it
This is something that I was awful within the initial start phase of my business and indeed for the first three years. I would spend an hour, after hour working. Generally, these hours would not be very productive.
They would actually be very unproductive. However, in time I started to develop the mental strength to stick to certain working time. For me, I would 10 am to 6.30pm.
This gives me the chance to lay in a little longer than usual. Some people would be horrified with a recruiter not working early. However, I found that most of my candidates are commuters and getting ahold of them in the customarily produced less satisfactory output. So if you are a crazy, anxious and busy home recruiter or planning to start out on the beautiful journey of going alone, I hope that this quick tour de force of ideas from working from home helps.
If you have come up with other ideas on how to develop and keep your sanity while working from home, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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