Working From Home: Answering Emails In Your Jammies Can Be Tricky For Many

I’m not a big fan of air quotes. The kind people use when they say, “Oh, you’re ‘working’ from home.”
Those curling fingers seem needlessly passive-aggressive. But even in the tech-loving Northwest, I see them used a lot when it comes to people whose workspace is also their eat-Pop-Tarts, wear-fleece-slippers, and dry-a-load-of-laundry space. Yes, Work From Homies. In this new economy, with its multiple gigs and flexible hours, many folks still think their (and likely, your) best work happens within sight line of a cubicle.

Not taking our word for it? Well, we asked 1,200 Washington and Oregon residents and discovered about twice as many workers rate themselves as more productive in the office than at home (43% called it a wash). People under 35, in particular, noted their productivity flags on their home turf. Perhaps the distraction of whisper-challenged office mates can’t match the pull of the dishwasher begging to be unloaded. Paradoxically, 83% of respondents said the ability to work from home was at least somewhat important to them in choosing an employer. And that was especially true among people with kids.

Maybe the trick is learning HOW to work from home successfully. One longtime freelancer we know swears it’s doable – but she had to train herself. Here are three tips to keep productivity high at home.


Set a Timer: Our work-from-home friend swears by her kitchen timer, but your phone is an easy swap for that. Set it for 30 minutes and, barring a shrieking smoke detector, don’t leave your desk until it goes off. Once you hear that familiar ringtone, head outside for a short walk or quick Instagram scroll (OK, that might not be the best option). Gradually, you’ll quell your temptations to sort through that stack of mail in the middle of a project.


Create Space: Find a spot where you can dial in and focus. You don’t have to replicate that big corner office, it could be as simple as clearing off a corner of your coffee table. Either way, creating a space dedicated to your work gets you in the right mindset to knock out that to-do list and put your best (bare) foot forward.


Ease Your Mind: It may be because we’re insurance nerds, but we’re always thinking of protecting our prized possessions. Working from home often lends itself to having pricier equipment and business liabilities and we can squelch our productivity by worrying about these kinds of things. Ease your mind by doing some homework ahead of time. Find out if your homeowners/renters insurance covers your equipment and liability related to your business. On that, we say ask your insurer. Business-use coverage can be complicated, and it’s a case-by-case call.


Curious to see how your work-from-home experience compares with fellow Northwesterners? Check out the PEMCO Northwest Poll to find out more on this topic.

Derek Wing

Derek Wing

Derek serves as a Communications Manager at PEMCO Insurance, overseeing media and public relations. He’s an Emmy and Associated Press award-winning former broadcast journalist who is deeply involved in the community.
Derek Wing