How to stay happy while working from home
It was all fun and games wasn’t it back in March? I mean along with the crippling fear and anxiety about WHAT THE HELL WAS ACTUALLY GOING ON; for lots of us, came the novelty of working from home.
The extroverts amongst us struggled. What was life all about if you couldn’t have a gossip at the water cooler anyway? The introverts came into their own, in fact they started to enjoy the peace and quiet. The parents of young children performed a juggling act that put them off joining the circus forever. Those who were in the frankly shit situation of finding themselves redundant, have had to pivot, get creative, ponder new income streams. All whilst tethered to the kitchen table, both literally and metaphorically.
As we kick off this new year with lots of us still not back in the workplace, finding a way to get comfortable WFH has become of paramount importance. Here are my top tips for staying positive when you really can’t stand the thought of one more zoom call!
- Set your working hours, tell colleagues/customers what they are and stick to them. It’s too easy for peple to assume you are available to chat or answer emails for every single waking hour. Plus having a schedule provides routine, which can help to ease anxiety.
- Don’t work in your pyjamas! Yes, you. You know who you are. No putting a shirt on for zoom calls and leaving the pj’s and slippers on the bottom half. While it’s not feasible to wear a pencil skirt and heels to your kitchen table every day, dressing in something smart, stylish and clean will help you feel more professional and this translates into increased productivity.
- Get outside for at least fifteen minutes each day. Research shows that being outdoors and being active even for just a short period of time, boosts feelings of positivity and can ward off depression. If the weather is particularly grim, how about sneaking in a lunchtime 30 minute workout to boost those endorphins.
- Stop beating yourself up that you’re not getting enough done or achieving everything you wanted to every single day. Working from home requires a different mindset and a self-motivation that takes time to acquire.
- Clear yourself a space to work in which is clean, uncluttered and enjoyable to be in. I realise this is easier said than done if you have kids running around, or are mid house-renovation (I ticked both of those boxes in lockdown 1.0 last year). Try to carve out a separate area no matter how small, that others respect is your work space. There are some great furniture solutions these days to help spaces like bedrooms or living rooms work more flexibly to suit different needs.
- Check in with a colleague or a friend for a five minute chat or a facetime at some point throughout the day, to talk about something non-work related. Those little interactions were underappreciated in our old pre-covid lives but now we know how important it is to maintain those human connections virtually, especially until we can resume them in real life.
- Regularly ask yourself and reply honestly; does your work life balance feels healthy for you? If the answer is always no; it might be useful to brainstorm some ways you can improve things. Talk to a friend or trusted colleague and come up with a plan of action.