When your couch has turned into an office chair, family rooms have become shared workspaces, and emails are served and delivered on your dining table — congratulations, you can consider yourself as a working-from-home-warrior!
Give yourself some good credit because it's not an easy one.
Remote work - equally desired and loathed - has been part of our everyday lives since the pandemic. Anything in excessive quantities is easy — the same goes for working from home. For entrepreneurs, the balance between work and home is already challenging as it is. The re-introduced rules by many governments for the run-up to Christmas are not making it any less demanding.
Some of the key challenges with remote work include work-home interference, ineffective communication, procrastination, and loneliness. When remote working is not a free-willed option but a compulsory requirement, it's essential to shift the focus on getting the most out of it, or at least make it less unbearable.
We have gathered tips to help with the heightened work-from-home challenges:
Set a routine. And be consistent with it. (Wait, that's the definition of a routine, right?) Without set schedules, the line between work and home can get blurred, which can take its toll. In addition, eliminating the need to constantly make decisions reduces "cognitive load" and creates certain predictability that reduces stress. That, in turn, helps to contain the energy to concentrate on other tasks and flow better through the day (Donahue, 2021).
Create a committed workspace. If possible, set your place away from distractions (get away from that TV and fridge!) in a more quiet space, and equip yourself with everything you need beforehand: chargers, a notebook, pens, headphones, cushions to help you concentrate. If you are looking to better your home office, we have tested and compiled a list of the best laptop stands for your home office.
Connect with your colleagues. That doesn't mean jumping from one Zoom meeting to another, but taking time to craft out spaces in the beginning or during work meetings to check in with one another, share the struggles to lighten the feeling of isolation or even loneliness. Idea: organise virtual coffee corners with your team members - 15-minute chat & snack breaks can brighten up your day in unexpected ways.
Take breaks and move. Seriously. There's nothing more deteriorating than feeling glued to your chair. Our bodies nor minds are not built to sit behind the screen gathering input, producing material while at the same communicating for 8+ hours a day. So go ahead and stretch. Go on a walk. Put on a song and dance. Whatever forces you to get the thoughts away from your task(s) and reboot that system - yourself!
Set boundaries. When home and office fuse into one, it's easier to stay logged on - mentally and physically. Switch off at the right time to enjoy time off. Also, talk about your needs and challenges with your family, housemates, boss, colleagues that come with working from home. Having a quiet workplace, flexible work hours, longer breaks - anything that helps you stay afloat - should to be vocalised!
Be realistic. Acknowledging you might not be as productive and motivated as usual is a sign of self-awareness. It's completely normal to feel ineffective, futile, and tired in these times. Be kind to yourself (and to others, too!), listen to your needs, and cut yourself some slack. You are doing great. Don't forget to rest — it's part of the work.