The number of people working from home has increased dramatically over the past couple of weeks as companies and governments attempt to protect their employees, but at the same time keep operational at some level. If you have the type of profession that that transitions well to working from home, that is fantastic, but as I am sure you are already finding out, working from home can be challenging.
Some of you are shouting: “FREEDOM!! I finally get to do things my way!”. I am here to tell you that this will fade fast for most of you as the new reality of working remotely sets in. It is proven that we as human beings function best with a fairly high degree of structure in our lives. Very likely our workplace provided the very framework needed we needed to be at our most productive.
“Through self-discipline comes freedom” - Aristotle
We have been lucky enough to have been working from home for almost 10 years now and have had the opportunity to experience most of the potential pitfalls you will encounter working away from the office. We wanted to take this opportunity to share what we have observed to help you navigate some of the obstacles you may battle with along the way.
Sleeping In – one thing that can happen right away is breaking out of your regular wake up time, shifting your work schedule into later in the day, or even into the evening. As tempting as this can be, we would suggest you stick to your regular schedule. Wake up early and jump on your biggest tasks first thing, your mind is freshest in the morning, not filled with demands of the day. We also feel that sticking to your regular schedule will help with overall mental and physical wellbeing. Rise and shine!
Digital Distractions/Social Media – being home much more than normal we will use even more social media and digital mediums than ever before. Pre-virus numbers were approaching almost 3 hours of social media and 6 hours of screen time per day. This will be a MASSIVE time and energy trap that will stop you from getting your work accomplished. Tackle your work first; use social media like you would your coffee and lunch breaks. Or alternatively, wait until the end of your workday to jump online. First things first!
Snacking – We are now working VERY close to our kitchens and many people tend to eat more than they normally do when working at the office. We are seeing many posts about weight gain and uncontrollable eating people are currently experiencing. To help work around this keep healthy food in your home, get rid of any salty and sweet snack food. Keep lots of fruit, veggies, and nuts to snack on. They will fill the same purpose and at the same time keep you energized. You are what you eat!
Too much time sitting – Between working and staying connected with our people and the world at large we are spending a disproportionate amount of time sitting in front of our computers. We are not meant to be in a sitting position for so many hours a day. Schedule time move your body. As often as possible; go for a walk, do some stretching, do an online group exercise class, whatever works for you, find ways to move. Get up and MOVE!
Feeling overwhelmed – All this change, combined with all the uncertainty in the world at the moment, it is very easy to feel on the edge of overwhelming. Take some no-screen time mental health breaks, this could take the form of a 15-minute meditation, read a few pages of a book, listen to music, take a shower, maybe even a nap, sometimes we are so focused on what is in front of us we are simply going in circles. These breaks provide balance and can very often give you the AH-HA moment you needed, and get you back on your path. Take a BREAK you deserve it!
Staying Productive – Sometimes we get stuck, and machinery of our mind slows or even grinds to a full stop. This happens to everyone so do not worry, but instead of switching gears into distraction (Social Media, Snacking, Online shopping, etc). We find one of the great benefits of being home is that there are generally chores to be done. So when you get stuck, just tackle a small chore, wash some dishes, pay some bills, sweep the floor, prepare a healthy meal to name a few. You will find maintaining the feeling of being productive will help you jump back into work mode when needed, and will also have you feeling great about your day. Maintain MOMENTUM.
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day” – Jim Rohn
Once we moved through some of the drawbacks of working from home, I must say we absolutely love it! I can honestly state that we have become far more productive, mentally and physically healthy than we ever were working from an office. More balanced, no traffic, no office drama, you get to take care of business and at the same time pay attention to yourself and your family! We hope this helps speed you past potential obstacles to your working from home success. As always we are here to help.