What if we saw the glass half full? 5 tips to making the best out of working from home.
For those of us lucky enough to still have our jobs after such a tough year, we have had to learn to live in the new reality of working from home. Juggling the different aspects of our lives as the line between professional and personal has become ever more blurred can be challenging.
I don’t know about you, but I have set up my laptop in the kitchen, the only space where I have enough light to spend hours in front of my PC every day. This comes with the high inconvenience of cooking and eating my meals in the same place as I am working. I also have 2 highly charged kids who burst through the door every day at 3.30pm and inevitably make an appearance during my 3–4pm meetings. Not to mention the lack of any social interactions during the day. So yes, working from home day after day can take its toll on our sanity.
But what if we took a step back and looked at the glass half full? Are there any positives to this new reality that we are living in? Here are 5 tips to experience working from home in a more positive light:
1. Use your previous travel time to do something just for YOU. Many of us have extended our working hours to include the time it used to take us to travel to the office. This often means we are working a good hour, if not more, per day. Why not organize yourself to keep that precious hour for yourself? Whether it is first thing in the morning, during the lunch hour or at the end of the day, block your calendar and plan to do something that you enjoy. Reading a book, doing some exercise, meditating or getting your creative juices flowing in whatever way you enjoy, this will only make you more inspired for the next working day.
2. Include some exercise into your daily routine. With no need to move further than the next room in your home, it is crucial to get moving and stay fit. Getting some fresh air and exercise will release endorphins, making you feel happier, healthier and generally more energized to do your job. Working from home means you can be much more flexible on when you do this. You may even discover a specific time in the day that works best for you. If your meeting finishes early, or if you have a 30-minute break before your next meeting, that’s all you need. Alternatively, you may want to schedule some time in your diary to make it a regular occurrence. You could also invite a friend to have a virtual walk/jog/chat together to help fill some of the social void.
3. Take a short break to hear about your kids’ day when they get back from school. For those of you who have kids, chances are that you see them earlier in the day now that you are working from home. I often find that by dinner time (which is when I used to see my kids as I rushed through the door around 6.30pm and frantically started making dinner), they were exhausted and didn’t want to talk about their day (or had forgotten about it for the younger ones). Taking just 10 minutes earlier in the afternoon as they excitedly come through the door, has meant that they share so much more with me about what is going on in their lives. And how precious is that?
4. Rekindle old relationships. And by that, I mean professional relationships. With social interactions being even more virtual than before, it is likely you are spending much more time on social networks. Why not reach out to an old colleague or someone who made a mark on you during your career and find out what they are up to now? Who knows, there may be an unexpected reason for reconnecting with them, this happens more than you may think.
5. Reconsider the content of your work and what you really love about it. This one may be a little less obvious but working from home strips your job down to the core content of the work. Maybe it is time to consider whether you still really love what you are doing? Does the work fulfill you? Hopefully the answer will be yes, but if it is not, it may be time to do some soul searching on what is missing. Then sit down and have a discussion with your manager about it. It could be that some new opportunities may arise.
Don’t forget that it remains crucial to create a virtual line between professional and private. Close your laptop down at the end of the day and put it away, change into something comfier (yes, I know, the temptation to spend the entire day in something comfy at home is easy to give into!) and be strict with yourself on what your working hours are. If you were able to stick to them when you went into the office, there is no reason not to be able to now!
So despite the challenges of working from home, like in any difficult situation, there is always a silver lining. And surely, it’s better to see the glass half full?
If you have any other tips on the positives of working from home, I would love to read about them in the comments.