Case Study 3 – Work from Home
The client: Cara, a 52 year old professional coach in Alberquerque, NM runs her coaching business from home. A bright, intuitive woman, her office is located in her daughter’s old bedroom, which still had remnants of her daughter’s life. The closet was full of old yearbooks and a cheerleader uniform, trophies and notebooks. When asked why she was keeping all of that she told us it was because it reminded her of her daughter. The truth is it was clutter, and clutter being postponed decisions, was ignored “until I have time to deal with it,” she said.
Cara wanted to turn her office into a more professional environment. “I’ve seen home offices where people can be productive, feel productive, and get a lot of work done. My office looks like a spare bedroom. How could I bring an employee in here? I couldn’t!”
The issue: Cara was ready to make her business more business-like, and that meant her office needed to look more professional, she needed consistent “work hours,” and she needed procedures to make her work run more smoothly. “If you can do that,” she laughed, “you can work a miracle!”
She wanted a professional office, but she let her “room” continue to look like a leftover bedroom. She wanted files, yet she continued to amass little pile-lets everywhere in her home. (“I like to read my mail in the bedroom while I’m watching TV.”)
The process: First we assessed what Cara wanted and compared that with what she was actually doing. We made a list of what “professional” looked like. “It looks like systems and organization and actually doing things in a corporate way,” she said.
We helped Cara see that her daughter’s things didn’t belong in a “professional” office, and that she could keep one memento, and box everything else up to give to her daughter, or keep in the basement.
We turned the closet into a bookshelf, used for manuals, three-ring binders, and office supplies set upon stacking trays to create more room.
We created a system for handling all of her papers. A tray system to handle her “backlog” of papers. We brought ALL of the papers from around the house and brought them into her system for her to start going through for 15 minutes at the start of her day. By handling the backlogged papers in that way, the old papers wouldn’t get mixed in with the new papers.
We compiled all of the forms that Cara needed to run her coaching business, and put them in notebooks that correspond to the categories she needs.
We created a small system for keeping track of her files. She needed client files, financial files, and corporate (business) files.
We created a “work schedule,” and a “home schedule” that she was to start adhering to. Now, instead of working any time, all over the house, Cara has specific working hours, and specific hours to be off. No more reading work late at night before going to sleep!
The outcome: “It’s been three months and my business is running more smoothly than it ever has. I “go to work” in the morning, I take a mid-day break, and I “knock off” sometime in the evening. My clients have noticed a calmer attitude in me, and I feel like I’m working in a professional environment.”
She also said, “I didn’t realize that by changing the esthetics of how I worked, that it would make such a big difference in my work! Thank you!”