How do you create a successful prolonged period of working from home by strengthening your routine, your space, and your mentality?
If like most of us, you have now been working from home for a couple of weeks already, you might be feeling a shift in the dynamic, as the novelty of the situation starts to wear off. Before the novelty transforms into a burden, take a moment to optimise your ‘working from home’ situation.
One of the major risks that a prolonged period of working from home presents is the blurred boundaries between work and home life. This is all the more exacerbated when you can’t even leave your house. Blurred boundaries between work and home, can harm both your work dynamics as well as your personal and relaxing dynamics. This applies no matter what your home situation is, whether you have a family and children, are just a couple or even if you are single. To preserve your sanity, make sure the separation between work and home dynamics is clear and no matter how hard it may be, make sure you stick to it.
While it might have been easy to work from the comfort of your couch, wearing your cosy slippers, and while it may have been a great timesaver not to have to travel to work, after a few weeks of working from home, you might start to feel the frictions and irritation of a sub-optimal situation. Before they become harmful frustrations, here are a few things you can put in place to optimise your experience, enhance your wellbeing and preserve your mental health.
Let’s look at what you can do at three levels: yourself, your space, your mentality.
This article is part one of a three-part piece and will focus on the first level: “yourself”. Click here for part two where we discuss your space and here for part three where we explore your mentality.
Starting with yourself.
- Get dressed… albeit the raincoat.
Now that you don’t have to be somewhere for work, you need to mark the start of the workday in a different way. Make sure you get ‘ready for work’ every day, for example by getting dressed as you normally would.
- Go to work… mentally.
Since most of us can’t go to work at the office, or even a cafe or a client’s location, we need to find a way to ‘go to work’ in our own homes. In the next section, we dive into the physical aspects of how you can do that. More importantly, you need to be able to do that mentally, and the physical tips and tricks below help with the mental framing of being at work.
- Say good morning… digitally.
A very good way of marking the start of the day is to do so socially. Start your workday with a morning call with a colleague every workday, maybe different colleagues on different days. Even better, consider scheduling a daily huddle meeting for your team every morning. This could be a 15 min recap and planning of the day. You can even have it at the start and the end of every workday. This is not only beneficial for your work performance, your mental health and your social needs, it is also good for the entire team bonding and community feel.
As tempting as it may be to start checking your emails in your pyjamas, it is easy for this quick email check – that you may have been doing for years as your morning routine – to sneakily become your full workday. Before you know it, you dive into work and when the clock strikes noon, you’re still in your ‘home’ mode, yet working. This blurriness is not helpful for your psyche and for a prolonged period of time could be really harmful. Instead, make sure you mark the transition between home and work and vice-versa at the end of the day.
This article is part one of a three-part piece. Click here for part two where we discuss your physical space. Part three where we explore mentality will be last.
Most of us have been working from home for a couple of weeks now. As the honeymoon period comes to an end, the novelty of the situation is starting to wear off and you may be feeling less excited about not having to commute and more nervous about facing another day in this now blurred work home world of yours. Before the novelty transforms into burden, take a moment to optimise your ‘working from home’ situation. In this three part article, we have looked at what you can put in place, right now, to optimise your experience, enhance your wellbeing and preserve your mental health during this unprecedented period. After you secure shelter, establish healthy routines and then create a purpose for yourself. If we all did that, we just might be able to turn this global affliction into a worldwide opportunity to create a better future.