Working From Home - the new Normal?
With the pandemic, so many people have been thrown into working from home. I’ve been working from home, full time as a web developer for 20 years. I have some tips to help you adjust to lessen stress levels. These tips don’t have to do with using technology to get your job done, but more to deal with your overall well being.
Everyone is a bit out of whack. We didn’t see this lifestyle change coming to have time to prepare overnight. The first week was “vacation”. The second week I think it started settling in that this is going to be long term.
Figuring out how to deal with this is overwhelming. Getting into a daily routine will help you adjust. A routine will add normalcy to a crazy, “great idea for a movie” situation we are in.
So do what you were doing before the executive orders to stay home were in place.
Get up at your regular time. Eat breakfast, work out, shower, get dressed. Whatever your routine was before, try to keep it as close to what it was. You will feel better. The stereotype of lying around, working in your pajamas may be possible now, but it’s not good for your morale.
Along with a routine, stick to a work schedule. Schedule time you will be sitting at a desk/table and focusing on work. Make it clear to your family that if you are in your home office, you are not to be disturbed. Don’t turn on the TV when you are working, don’t answer personal calls during this time.
Make a point to get up and walk. Walk to the mailbox, take the dog for a walk. Little breaks like this will refresh you.
Separate home and work
Don’t eat at your desk. Take a lunch break. Breakaway from your desk and work to allow you to decompress a bit. You will come back to work refreshed. Most likely your spouse and kids are home too. Visit with them. Give your kids undivided attention that is completely free of work distraction for a bit.
End your workday at a set time every day
This is a big one. Email is delivered 24/7. If you check your work email, you most likely feel obligated to respond. Don’t reply after hours and on the weekend. Reply during business hours. This sets a precedence of what your colleagues will expect from you. It is NOT wrong to NOT be working after hours and on the weekend.
Separating work and non-work life while doing it all under one roof takes self control. I get that you feel like you need to be available all the time. You feel like “everyone” knows you’re home so you don’t have an excuse not to reply. You do. You have a life outside of work. Separate the two.
If you are lucky enough to have a home office with a door, use it. Make sure your family knows that if the door is closed, you can not be interrupted. If you don’t have a closed office, define family rules about “work hours” and what can and can not be done during this time. i.e no TV, video games, being considerate to the noise levels.
Remember, so many people are dealing with this “new normal”. Be patient. Some people like the isolation/solitude while others are going to go stir crazy without constant interaction. Be (extra) patient with your kids. Their life has been turned up side down too. All of their activities and friends have just been taken away from them. Whether they like school or not, they miss their friends at school. They left school one day with no idea the school year was over. They are hurting and dealing with it on their own level.