It’s been between 3-4 weeks since the majority of us have been working remotely. While this has had an impact on many facets of our lives, let’s focus on our work lives in this post. How do you navigate the unique dynamics of working from home, especially if you’re not alone? There are several challenges related to working remotely such as limited access to files or curricular materials, noise and distractions from those within and outside of your home, and having to deal with health concerns—your own and/or those of your loved ones. Here are a few tips:
- Create a calendar/routine: This is especially important if you have multiple people in the home and have to share space and/or technology. While our current reality is anything but “normal,” try to promote a sense of normalcy by doing what you used to do before while also establishing some new routines (e.g. shower and get dressed as if you were going into the office—YES, I said get dressed, no matter how tempting it may be to stay in your PJs, schedule and enjoy your meals and breaks, check your emails and use a calendar to keep track of all of your work meetings and activities). If sharing space/technology, you may want to do this for everyone in your home to avoid scheduling conflicts.
- Find/create a space at home to work: Acknowledging that this may be difficult if space is limited and there are multiple people in your home, try to find a neutral space with few distractions (for you and for those that will see you on video). If you’re on several virtual meetings, you want to find an area that is well-lit and not too far from your router so that you get a strong connection. Make sure your seating is comfortable, but not too comfortable…I know the recliner is really tempting.
- Step up your technology game: Since more of us are working online, we’re seeing the good side of technology (e.g. being able to connect with friends and family for virtual hang-out sessions) and the not-so-good side of technology (e.g. Zoom Bombing). Take this time to learn the basics of some commonly used platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, as well as some newer ways that people are connecting like Houseparty.
- Establish boundaries: Working from home means that it’s easier to get your day started, but it might also make it harder for you to end your day. It’s important to establish boundaries by letting people (including your family, colleagues, etc.) know when you’re working and when you’re off the clock. Most importantly, when you’re off…you’re off! Disconnect from work and reconnect with your actual “home life.”
- Be gentle with yourself: As mentioned previously, there is nothing normal about what we are collectively experiencing. So, don’t expect to fall into “work as usual” mode so quickly. Allow yourself time to find your groove in our new reality and, don’t just forgive yourself for making mistakes, but expect them. Lastly, explore new self-care options: take an online dance, yoga, or fitness class, listen to your favorite podcasts or audiobooks, take on the those long overdue home improvement projects, experiment with some new recipes or reconnect with loved ones that you’ve lost touch with.