For years, the office has been a place filled with expectations for professionalism and a certain degree of self-filtering. With recent events pushing many employees to their homes to work while “real life” happens around them, these expectations have been challenged and people have been forced to find new meaning in the term “work-life balance.” Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it would have been a rare occasion for most of us to work from home while handling children in the background and organizing meetings to accommodate the other working adults in our shared space. This is now a daily reality, and because the adjustment can be challenging, we’ve developed a list of ways to make the new work-from-home life more manageable.
Adjust your perspective
It’s important to acknowledge that working from home, especially when it’s required, will be a difficult transition. In circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic when remote workers are often at home with their families, the expectations for a 9 to 5 workday with a one-hour lunch will need to be adjusted. Re-evaluate your schedule and make changes to your daily routine to align with the ebb and flow of your energy levels and availability for focused work. It’s important to have a clear viewpoint of each day so you can be your most productive during the work hours you set for yourself.
Research shows that isolation can be twice as harmful to both physical and mental health as obesity. According to Forbes, maintaining connections with co-workers and managers isn’t only necessary for productivity, but for the emotional wellness of remote workers – even the introverts. Making use of the video conferencing technology available is one way to ease the effect of loneliness, but connecting with one another through phone calls, text and chat can bring a sense of closeness and energize teams.
Set clear boundaries
Working from home can be a positive experience when it’s well-executed. However, the pressure to feel “on” 100% of the time when you’re remote can create stress for a lot of us. Use your home office whiteboard to create a clear plan for your day, setting a hard stop to your working hours. These efforts can help alleviate the pressure to continue working late into the evening. When creating a schedule for working from home, remember to include time for breaks to step outside for a walk or make a meal for yourself. If you need to, set a reminder for breaks to prompt you to step away from the computer.
Another important boundary is saying no when you need to. Remote workers can feel it’s necessary to take on everything in an effort to appear you’re working hard while at home. Unfortunately, this is counterproductive and increases stress and anxiety – especially during unprecedented times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding your limitations and setting restrictions on workload will help you manage your time and perform your best.
Requirements for remote work may be lifted once the COVID-19 threat passes but working from home will continue to be a part of the modern work life standard. These tips can help reduce the increased anxiety and pressure experienced by the at-home professional, and in turn create a more productive and healthy relationship with your co-workers and managers. With the right mindset, open communication, and clear goals and boundaries, remote jobs can work – and so can you.