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Over the past few weeks I have had a number of discussions on working from home with friends that are accustom to going to an office every day, and are now trying to transition to a new reality. That transition can actually be a bit of a challenge, so I figured it was time to write a few tips. I have been working in the kayaking world for a few decades now, and for the vast majority of that time it has been out of a home office. I have certainly changed and matured over that time, unless you ask my wife, when it comes to the self-imposed structure you need to do a good job while staying healthy both physically and mentally. This is not the only way to be successful, but what has worked for me. My personal challenges have evolved over time.

When I was still paddling competitively full time I struggled to not go boat and try to catch up later. Free range did not work then, since anytime boating did not match up with the needs of my customers. I adjusted and did workouts early and late in the day so I was available when I needed to be. Now my biggest issue has been taking care of myself and ensuring that I do not forgo my needs while I am prioritizing my work responsibilities. Lastly, don’t forget to shower on occasion! Your coworkers can no longer smell you through skype, but at some point, the excuse of being a core WW boater does not fly with the rest of the world. Stay safe and healthy and I hope this helps.

– Set a schedule! Depending on what the demands of your job are this can vary, but without the normal flow of an office it is 100% up to you to figure out how to get everything done. I have a set schedule of meetings that I skype into so that part is easy. In addition to that I designate blocks of time that I knock out calls, emails, and projects. Stick to it and don’t fall victim to the seduction of the dark side. That little devil on your shoulder that says you can catch up if you go play now is actually lying!

– Work with your natural patterns. I am a morning person and do my best computer/email work in the AM when I can focus, so that is when I don’t answer my phone. I take care of my phone work when the interaction of others helps me to stay focused on the issues at hand later in day.

– Move around. Unless I need information from my computer I tend to walk circles in the house or on the deck while I make phone calls. This actually ends up being 3-5 miles a day! I also have a hang board on the door to my office in case I need to get up for a quick second to clear my head, but not leave my office.

– If you have a pet let them help be your interaction that is missing from not going out into the world, except digitally. My dog knows the schedule so well that he typically is bringing me toys 15 min or so prior to the time we target to wrap things up for the day.

Colin Kemp
Team JK