So, you’ve been working from home now for 8 weeks, give or take. You are at the kitchen or dining room table, your cat is walking across the computer keyboard, the dog is barking, your kids are pestering you for help with online studies (or worse….trying to involve you in the latest Tik Tok challenge) and your spouse is sequestered in another room on a Zoom chat with colleagues. You never thought you’d see the day where you miss your office and you even miss your work-life boundary-creating commute.
Working from home once in a while by yourself is completely different than working from home with All Of It Happening around you. So yes, the old work-from-home rules are lying somewhere in a garbage heap because they are just not that helpful during a world-wide pandemic. Here are some new thoughts about working from home.
- Realize life is messy. You *do* have a lot of things pulling you in a million directions, and how it all gets done may not be as neat and clean as it was during your previous routine when you (mostly) did work at work and you (mostly) did home at home.
- Create physical boundaries around your work to help maintain your sanity. Many people are realizing that when the computer is open on the dining room table (or the kitchen table, or on the bed) that your work is suddenly with you. Everywhere. All the time. If you can, choose one place to work, and leave your computer there (closed and off when you are not working).
- Create time boundaries around your work (to further maintain sanity). This is tough. (See opening paragraph about dog, cat, kids, spouse, etc.) You may not have as much time to work during the “regular” workday because you need to help children with online access, help older parents, etc. However, making a plan of when you will (and won’t) be working (coordinated with your boss and with others in your household) can reduce stress immensely. We’ve heard of people temporarily living with in-laws to help with childcare; juggling schedules with a spouse, allowing one to be on child duty while the other is working; or negotiating for fewer hours per week for reduced pay on a temporary basis. If you live alone, you may have an even tougher time shutting down work at a reasonable time. You will be a better person, and a better employee, though if you do.
- Think healthy. Our bodies and minds react to stress. Eat healthy, drink lots of water. Sounds boring, but this really makes a difference in your energy level and attitude (no one does well when they are hangry!)
- Computer screens are hard on our eyes and brains—and now we are in front of them more than ever. Use eye drops throughout the day to keep eyes from getting overly dry. Take a walk to get some fresh air (and see some different scenery). Consider the hour before bed a no computer and no phone zone, as the blue light can interrupt circadian rhythms that help you fall asleep.
- Speaking of sleep, get some. Whether your relaxation method of choice is meditation, melatonin or just downright exhaustion, get some rest.
- Give yourself grace. We are all learning how to navigate this day by day. Don’t give yourself a pass (you’re tougher than that), but do give yourself a break.
If you are interested in executive coaching or new ways of working with your team in this challenging time, message me to arrange a conversation with one of our executives.