Within the past two decades, working from home has gone from a novelty to the new normal. More and more of us are eschewing the traditional office for the comforts of the home office.
Remote teams have become more common – and the COVID-19 pandemic has only served to hasten this trend. For those who already worked from home, recent events may be a bit easier to handle. But for people suddenly finding themselves in this situation for the first time, it can be head-spinning.
There is a certain culture shock when going from a physical workplace – one with colleagues, visiting clients and workstations – to a more isolated home environment. This can be extremely tough on one’s mental and physical health.
So, how do you navigate this new environment without losing your sanity? We’ve put together some tips to help you make the most out of working from home.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
The work-life balance is always a challenge. Yet it is even more difficult to achieve when you work in the very same place you live.
One way to effectively deal with this is to, where feasible, create a separate area that’s just for work. This will allow you to compartmentalize your job from the rest of your daily life. You’ll have an escape for some time with family or just plain chilling on the couch.
Of course, so much depends on your home and the amount of available space. For many of us, the results won’t be perfect – and that’s OK. Not everyone is able to dedicate an entire room to a home office.
The key is to make some space, however small. It might even be a matter of clearing off the kitchen table during work hours, then putting it back to normal afterwards. Just knowing you have a place to get work done can be mentally reassuring.
Cancel the Clutter
A cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind. The thing is, working from home can actually promote clutter. With no coworkers in sight, it’s easier to let papers and other assorted gadgets pile up around you.
The presence of junk may make it really hard to concentrate on work. It can also put you in a negative state of mind, which affects life outside the office as well.
That’s not to say that your workspace has to be pristine. But it’s worth the effort to do a little tidying up at the end of each day. This will enable you to start off the next one with a relatively clean space and a clear head.
With less distraction, you can be more focused on the task at hand. From there, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that keeps on building, day after day.
Take Frequent Breaks
Time can go by quickly when sitting in your home workspace. Hours can be spent coding, collaborating on Zoom calls or doing various repetitive tasks. To put it mildly: it’s easy to get lost in work.
Sitting still for hours isn’t exactly the best thing for our health, however. That’s why it’s important to routinely take breaks.
What to do? This is where the freedom of working from home comes into play. Take a quick walk around the block, play with your puppy or brew another cup of coffee. Just standing outside for a few moments of peace and quiet can be beneficial.
If you tend to get into a zone while working, set an hourly alarm on your phone to remind you to get up. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Sometimes, working from home feels like a trap. Try as you might, it seems like you just can’t get away from your job. There can even be a sense of feeling compelled to work out of guilt. You’re not alone – all of us have days like this.
Give yourself permission to do something fun once in a while. Even if it’s not that far-off vacation you’ve been dreaming of, there are still plenty of little things that can bring you joy.
Take a few hours off to go to a local park. Catch up with a friend or family member. Play a game with your kids. Whatever it is, do something for the fun of it. It can do wonders for your spirit.
The Work From Home Experience Is What You Make It
Adapting to the work-from-home lifestyle takes time. For many, the transition can be a stressful one. But it’s important to remember that, even though some things are beyond our control, we do have a say in the outcome.
We can, for instance, set up a workspace that suits our needs. One that helps us get work done while also allowing us to leave our jobs behind after the day is over. And, even if our space is limited, it’s a place that reflects who we are and what we care about.
In addition, we can choose to get up and move throughout the workday. It’s a great way to reduce stress and combat potential health problems down the road. And let’s not forget the possibility of having a little fun along the way.
Yes, there will be challenges. But working from home is also an amazing opportunity. It’s up to us to make the most of it.