As governments either encouraged or ordered people to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of working from home for the first time.

The “good” included the elimination of commute time, savings on gas and car insurance premiums, the elimination of the mad dash to be on time for work, the opportunity to increase  personal productivity, and the advantage of spending more time with your children and other family members.

The “bad” included the lack of face-to-face interaction with team members, the temptation to mingle business with personal distractions, the lack of motivation and focus on business projects in a home environment, and the interruptions and distractions from children and other family members.

The “ugly” included the mental health issues of self isolation, lack of enough outdoor exercise, the threat of picking up the dreaded virus every time they had to go shopping, and the frequent lack of structure and self-control needed to focus in a flexible environment.

I recently wrote an e-book for Bookboon.com on how to set up an office at home in which I share  the advantages and disadvantages of working from home, and describe how to transform a bedroom and closet into a work-oriented office that is both organized and motivational. I also suggest how to eliminate or reduce to a minimum many of the disadvantages mentioned above, and yes, even deal with the common problem of children and family members.

In this and the next few blog articles, I will share much of the information from that book. You can see a description of the e-book and 30 other e-books that I have written for Bookboon.com during the past few years at our website, Taylorintime.com. There are links there to the actual books if you would like to purchase any of them.

I started my business on a shoestring over fifty years ago by operating out of my home. There were problems to be resolved, and I will explain how I solved many of them as we continue with these excerpts. But when I moved into my first rented office space about 15 years later, the additional costs far outdistanced my profits, as I added more furniture, supplies, aesthetic trappings to impress my clients, and of course,  additional staff to fill the additional space.

We were fairly successful; but being mainly in the business of training, speaking, publishing, and information products, I could have been a lot more profitable if I had remained working from home, outsourced everything that distracted from what I did best, and focused on what brought me success in the first place.  In retrospect, there was no reason I could not have done so.

For the past fifteen years, as I entered semi-retirement, (what entrepreneur would ever completely retire?) I once again operate from my home, initially in a condo in Toronto, and for the past 4 years, in an apartment in the small town of Sussex, New Brunswick.

In the next several blog articles I will share what I have learned along the way, including the use of working space, and a few photos of what my office looked like before I started to write the book. (It looked a little more cluttered once I started working.)

Through these articles, you will read how we have been influenced by the recent pandemic, including how to deal with the loneliness of working by yourself in an office – how to interact, get exercise, focus on priorities, balance your life  – and even receive suggestions from a retired astronaut on working in isolation.

You will also read about the advantages of selling digital, downloadable products on your website that complement your current product line or service, and thereby make money as you sleep.

We have to take what we learned from this recent pandemic, and apply it to what many consider will be the “new normal,” so we can take advantage of the many benefits of working from home – without experiencing the “bad and the ugly.”

Hopefully, you will be able to pick up a few ideas, whether you currently work from home, or are considering doing so. You will hear from me again next week.

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