Like much of North America I have been working at home for the last little while. The jobs that we have previously been told couldn’t happen at home under any circumstance, seems to have been figured out, and much of the technological issues have worked themselves out.
Due to a job change in the middle of a pandemic (not sure if I recommend) I have both worked my final days and my first few from my dining room table, saying goodbye to old colleagues and new ones all through the comfort of Zoom and trying to figure out this whole work from home thing while the entire rest of my life is changing as well.
Now while I wouldn’t say that I have the whole thing figured out, I do believe that I have found a few tips that help my work from home day and make it so my days are better and that I do get my work done that I would like to share with you (unmentioned is having a husband who is currently not working to bring you tea and meals throughout the day).
- Set up a Workspace – This can be your desk, your dining room table, or your couch (if you have something supportive so you aren’t bending over all day). What really matter is that you have your computer and any other things you may need for your work day nearby. For me this is making sure I have a notebook and pen, and a coaster for my constant mug of tea. This can be in a private space, or somewhere more accessible if you need human contact. I do have a desk in my den, but I prefer the dining room table because I want to be near my husband and find that it takes less time to have a conversation while working, than to get up and find him if I was in a different room.
- Set defined start and end times – Due to my nature this isn’t difficult for me, but I know for many people this is tough. Set an alarm on your phone and if you have to, block the sites you need for work during non-work hours. It is important to still have a work-home balance even if they are taking place under the same roof. Life is stressful enough right now, please don’t work more than you have to.
- Get Ready (at least a little) – Now I am not saying that you have to put on work clothes every day, or that you can’t ever have a day where you stay in your pajamas, but get at least a little ready. This means for me that I wash my face and brush my teeth at the very least. Sometimes I feel ready by my first break to get more dressed during that time and sometimes I am fully dressed before my day starts, but overall I try and do a little something based on how I am feeling that day.
- Move a Little – Most of our new work environments are not the best ergonomically. Our backs are slouching, our butts are hurting, and we are generally in positions that aren’t the best for our bodies. I have found it extremely helpful to do some stretching throughout my day, whether that is before the workday begins, after, or a quick minute between emails it is great to stretch and get your body moving a least a little bit.
- Get Outside – We don’t all have this option but I have found that getting a little bit of sun on my body helps to perk me up a lot. I have learned that sun hits my back porch perfectly at around 11:00 which is usually about when I am needing a minute so I will take a quick break to stand outside in the sun, take a glance at my (hopefully) growing plants, and feel the Vitamin D on my body. It is nice to also get a longer time outside after my workday, but that minute or two of sun really helps me.
- Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself! – Are you going to be as productive as you were in the office? Probably not. Many of you are now surrounded by spouses, kids, pets, chores – things that take up our mental energy when they usually aren’t during the workday. Plus this is an extremely stressful time in the world where it is completely understandable to not be giving 100% every day. Try your best, but it is okay.
My workday currently involves a big window where I can see sunshine, many many cups of tea, two minute breaks to do a Disney puzzle, and being able to listen to my podcasts without headphones. What are the small joys in your new workday and what are your tips for making work from home work for you?