It is often said that moving is one of the most stressful events in somebody’s life, and I couldn’t argue with that. That is until I began the project of renovating my home. Considering I work as a marketing executive and have a home office, the balance between the ongoing project and my regular job was a very daunting task.
Before beginning my renovations, I was sure that I had everything under control. Unfortunately, throughout the course of the renovation and the impact it had on my business, finances, health, and relationships, I realised that I was wrong. I came to realise that a little more preparation beforehand would’ve definitely helped, which is why I decided to share my bits of wisdom with others, struggling the same fate.
Although every project is different, there are some common denominators you should look out for. And also bear in mind that, as someone working from home, you need to think about your business as much as you do about the house, if not more. Maintaining a balanced relationship is the only way to make sure your little project doesn’t have a long-lasting impact on everything else in your life.
Plan and be Ready to Adjust Accordingly
No home renovation project, no matter how small, should start with a plan. Detailing the course of renovations, delegating responsibilities and coming up with a budget should be your very first step.
If you don’t live alone, make sure to include everyone in the planning process in order to avoid any possible conflicts in the future and exhausting family drama over tile colours. Once everyone is on board with the plan, you can start the renovations, hoping to avoid any serious falling out.
Even if you create the most detailed, thought-out plan, chances are that some unpredictable event is going to set you off track. The worst thing you can do at that moment is to panic. If the shipment is late, a contractor cancels, a wall comes crumbling down… All of that is fixable, and you will manage it in due time. Focus on the highest priority first, and go from there.
Make a Rainy Day Fund
As we mentioned, the unexpected happens, even with the best plans. The biggest impact will surely be on the budget. Either you will need to replace something, pay for the overtime, or buy something new, that wasn’t in the original budget.
You might discover you can’t fit the fire ducts you have chosen in the desired space and need to shift things around. You might need longer wires to hook up the TV. There might be a broken tile behind the washing machine.
Although your budget might be tight, always spend less than you have, so you will have some extra space should a disaster happen. And if you defy all the odds and don’t have to dip into that cookie jar, you will have some extra money on the side to invest in renovations, or something else.
However, if you don’t leave yourself some room for sudden expenses, your renovations will surely turn into a nightmare.
Count on Interruptions while Working
Noise, workers in your private space, accidents, tools everywhere, and the inability to use most of your house are completely normal, typical, everyday occurrences when your home is being renovated. The first step is understanding that you can’t change that. So, what can you do? Adjust accordingly, and take long, deep breaths.
First thing you should do is try to work your schedule around your construction and carpenters. Schedule your conference calls early in the morning or late in the afternoon when your house is empty. Second, during the renovation period, delay everything that could get disrupted by the events in your home.
And finally, make sure that you have a backup plan. Your friends’ place, garage, or any other room that isn’t vibrating with power drills. Your clients, and ultimately your business, will thank you for it.
Embrace the Stress and Don’t Run from It
When it comes to home renovations, there is no such thing as smooth sailing. If you add the fact that you work from home in the mix, you know you are in a world of trouble. And, surprisingly, the best way to handle it is to accept it.
Don’t let the stress surprise you. You know it’s coming, so just come up with good strategies on how to handle it. Figure out something that works best for you and try not to get too disrupted.
No issue that comes up, related to renovations or your work will be made better by the stress. In fact, your decision-making skills will be severely impaired, since you won’t be able to think clearly. You might even do more damage than if you simply did nothing.
Apply that way of thinking to your colleagues, partners, and contractors, and this entire endeavour could be much easier than it was for me.