One special challenge that some CRAs face is working from a home office. This is becoming more and more common as we move to a tele-commuting workplace. Many people dream of total freedom, to be independent and have more freedom. Increasing numbers of companies use an eCRF for their trials, making it possible to monitor studies from a computer anywhere in the world. How can you maintain positive relationships with other people who may be at home, but also stay focused and productive during your work day? Here we’ll mention four principles that are highly effective for a home office.
Number one is location. Try to get your office location away from the rest of the activity in the home. Mine is upstairs and away from the front entrance. Yet most people, they put their den right by the front entrance to the house. This is a high traffic area and is going to create a lot of interruptions. This leads to number two, which is sound. We want to, as much as possible, reduce the interruptions that you’re hearing.
Many people are hearing conversations or traffic. Putting on the radio can be a good alternative. I had one client who put a fan in his office. This created some white noise and a natural sound barrier. Find a way to create that barrier, even if it’s putting on headphones at home. Number three is a time boundary.
This is similar to the line in the sand, but it’s something you communicate to your family members. You let them know, clearly, that these are the times when I’m going to be working and these are the times that I’m going to be available.
What I found is that if you respect those times, they’ll respect your times. I’ve even had my children close the door on me, because they know that I’m during my work time and number four is also include some timed breaks.
One of the joys of working at a home office is that you have flexibility to do a few, fun things. Put those breaks in your schedule. Give yourself an opportunity to go for a walk or go downstairs and talk to loved ones. Whatever it is, create a schedule to take those time breaks.
Now that you have an understanding of how to be more effective with the home office, what improvement will you make? Write down that one action and begin using it this week.