Just a few months ago, remote employees were a rarity in the workforce. Now, due to COVID-19, many people have been thrust into full-time remote work all around the world. I’ve worked from home for almost a year now and have learned a few things here and there. If you are working from home right now then you have probably figured out that it has it’s benefits and challenges. For me, being in my own space gives me a sense of freedom that I wouldn’t get in a traditional work environment. I don’t have a commute (which saves me $$$), I can wear yoga pants 24/7 if I want, and if I don’t feel like being sociable I can keep that to a minimum (high-five to all my introverts out there!). But being self-sufficient and focused is the name of the game. There are sooo many more distractions at home than in a traditional work environment. Between your phone, T.V., kids, spouses, and the urge to take a mid-morning nap…it’s like the world is begging you not to work. In addition, you’ll find some days that you miss that in-office banter, and there is definitely a tendency for your work life to blend into your home life. With that being said, I wanted to take some time to delve into a few simple things you can do to make working from home enjoyable.
So what are some things you can do to feel more like yourself, and to feel productive when you are working from home?
One of the main things I learned from this experience is that working from home is going to look different for everyone depending on their personality. For example, I have one co-worker who only likes wearing yoga pants and casual clothes during the work day, because that is what she feels comfortable and confident in. In contrast, I have another co-worker who gets fully dressed up every day, including make-up and heels. And guess what? They both are equally productive and happy. So moral of the story, be true to yourself! If you feel most like yourself in yoga pants and a cute sweatshirt, wear it! If you feel better dressing like you are going into the office, do it! Same goes with wearing make-up or not wearing make-up. For me I go though phases. Sometimes I want to dress up more and do my make-up and other days I just want to wear yoga pants and a sweater.
Create a work-space for yourself. Find an area of your house or apartment that is only for working, and design it into a space that you feel comfortable working in. The goal of this is that when you are done with with work for the day, or you want to take a break, you can leave that space and briefly (hopefully) stop thinking about work. By doing your best to separate your work from your home life, you are creating boundaries. The other part of a designing a space for yourself is that being in a space that reflects who you are can help you feel more comfortable and productive. For me that is when my desk is tidy, organized, and I have a candle burning. I would also like to add some organization baskets and plants to my desk down the road!
Make sure you are talking with your co-workers throughout the day through Slack, Teams, Zoom, Skype, etc. Chatting with co-workers throughout the day can make a world of difference for your mental state, especially if you have an extroverted personality type. This doesn’t mean that you have to be sociable everyday, but it is important to have at least some level of social-interaction. Plus, who else is going to relate so well to the trials and tribulations of your workday.
Take breaks to stand-up, drink some water, and pull your eyes away from the computer! When you are focused on work tasks it can be easy to stare at the computer for hours on end without moving. Trust me! I have to remind myself everyday to just get up and move once in awhile (but I’m a workaholic, your mileage may vary). Staring at the computer for too long can cause eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. It may help to put reminders on your phone or computer if you just can’t remember, and I highly recommend getting a pair of blue light-blocking glasses! If you are interested I did a post last year on purchasing glasses and the different coatings. Here is a link!
Lastly, make sure that you find things to do outside of the house. I try to go running almost every morning or during my lunch break. I also recommend going on walks, joining an exercise class, or participating in your favorite hobby. Obviously some options might be off the table during a pandemic, but you can always plop on a mask and get out for some fresh air. If I can’t get outside, doing some yoga in the house during my free time can be a great alternative, but really anything to get you moving can do the trick. Endorphins from exercise can really help elevate your mood! If that doesn’t appeal to you, try to find something that does, such as reading or leaving the house to get a cup of coffee. Make an effort to find things you enjoy doing that will get you up and away from the computer.
Working from home is different, but manageable, and can be very enjoyable! I hope this information helped and if you have any questions please leave a comment below.