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.
This article is part three of a three-part piece and will focus on the third level, your mentality. If you missed them, go back to part one where we discussed the first level, yourself, and part two where we explored your physical space.
Your mentality: It’s all in your head
The routine tips and the senses anchors discussed in the previous parts of this article are all helpful. They do however not end in themselves, they are means designed to support your mentality. At the end of the day, it is your mentality, your psychology and your emotional fortitude that are the goal as well as the key to not only surviving this period but indeed striving in it.
After the initial phase of taking refuge at home, it is essential you start establishing a helpful routine for yourself while you oscillate between your two worlds of work and home, all without leaving your apartment. So, after you have secured shelter and established a helpful routine, the next step is about elevating your mentality. Follow these two steps to taking full control of your mind, and striving during this period.
Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists in proactively viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives1. Here’s a simple example, instead of viewing this situation as ‘being stuck at home’, choose to view it as the staycation you’ve always talked about but never did, or the downtime you knew you needed but never took. Granted, if you have young kids at home, the staycation framing may be difficult to believe. In that case, you want might to frame this time as quality time and the bonding opportunity of a lifetime. Whatever frame you choose, make sure it is one you can believe and get behind.
Even though this situation is in most cases, imposed on us, make the effort to see this time as a choice. You may have not chosen to stay home, but there are endless choices you can make within the restrictions imposed by the situation. Focus on what you can control and what you can choose. You are still the director here. Ask not what will happen to us, but rather, what do we want to happen. Take back the controls, even mentally of your own situation and create choices even within the restrictions imposed.
You can live through this time or you can actually live it. After you reframe and redirect, now it’s time to repurpose. Give this period a meaning, an intention, a purpose. A purpose can be anything that has meaning to you, from learning something new to reinventing your work. No ideas what your purpose could be? Ask yourself this: what can you do right now to help your community? When this is all over, what will the world need? No matter how small or large your ideas are, giving your time at home a purpose will prove immensely valuable to you, and maybe even others.
When it comes to your workplace, being a facilitator means creating situations that are incomplete, impermanent and imperfect. This will very subtly invite employees in your organisations to ‘fill in the gaps’ and share implicit feedback through their behaviour, often unconsciously. This gives you valuable feedback, hints, and insights into what employee experience would suit them best.
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 a 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.