So the scary corona virus has forced you to work at home?
Transitioning to working from home is tough under normal circumstances, let alone the current health crisis that’s smacking us around like we are in the boxing ring with Muhammad Ali. COVID-19s yelling “float like a butterFlu sting like pneumonia, vaccines can’t hit what vaccines can’t see”. But even the greatest of all time lost in a 10 round fight that ended his career.
Change takes time for us to process, our human nature makes us struggle with change. Despite that struggle we are extremely adaptable to situations that are thrust upon us. It may take a few days or a week even more, it doesn’t matter, you will adapt. The hardest part of it all is relaxing our own expectations of what we should be achieving and just allowing our minds the time to process the shift.
Maintaining our mental well-being during what is a truly strange time in the world can be made easier by following a few simple ideas, outlined below, that have been proven by myself, and other professional colleagues of mine for years, working from our home offices.
Staying hydrated is the single most important thing we can do for our mind and body no matter where we are and what we are doing. Our brains are made up of 85% water, it helps our brains produce the vital chemicals, neurological transmitters and provides the energy to power our memory processes. When our brains are fully hydrated, we think faster, are more focused and work with greater clarity and creativity. So, keep a water bottle next to your desk and drink up.
Social and human connections.
Maintain your work interactions. During a normal workday you will interact with co-workers, your employer or employees, these interactions need to be maintained. Regular phone, video calls, zoom meetings and emails to discuss work are necessary to maintain normal communications. These communications will continue to make everyone feel part of the team and more importantly a valuable member of that team. These interactions with those we work with can also be an excellent time to strengthen your personal connections with others who are working from home. Asking simple questions like “what’s your home office set up like?” or a simple “how are you going with the transition?” at the end of your business call or email will help satisfy our need for human connection and greatly strengthen our personal relationships.
DON’T WAIT – Take the initiative, especially if you are the boss! Don’t be afraid to initiate these calls and interactions. Be the person that brings co-workers back together and keeps moral up. You are all in this together.
Draw the line between work and home.
Although you are moving your workspace home, it is important to maintain as much normality as possible. Continue to practice your normal morning or before work routines, choosing a set of clothes that will be your work clothes, smart casual would be best. Sorry Sharon leave your pants on. This will help you make the lines between work and home easier to distinguish, similarly changing out of those clothes will help to end the work day and transition back to being home time. That morning shower and getting ready routine is what sets you up and gives you the confidence to handle the transition and to keep your productivity at a level that keeps everyone happy. Not brushing your teeth and working in your Pjs will be a slippery slope to low productivity and depression not to mention gross, brush your teeth folks!
Designate your work Area.
Don’t make your safe place your workspace! Do your best to keep them separated. Spare rooms, dining tables or a desk in the corner of your living room are great options. Make your work space a place you enjoy being at by adding things that make you happy, some flowers, cool stationary or a photo of your normal office that you are already missing so much to remind you it will still be there when all this finally comes to an end. Make it yours but make sure it is a place you can walk away from at the end of the workday to transition back to being home.
Plan your day.
Planning the day and keeping your regular office hours will help keep you on task and make it easier to adjust to the disruption of the change, it will also help you not binge watch Netflix for 3 days leaving you a weeks’ worth of work to be done in 2 days.
Normally when talking about distractions and working from home we are told to avoid it, minimise it. Steer clear of housework and other non-work related tasks.
In this case that’s going to be damn near impossible for a lot of us. COVID-19 has forced us indoors, this means more than likely the people who live with us are also always home. The kids want your attention, your partner has their movie playing, your room mates are playing music loud in the lounge room to try and keep themselves occupied. Distraction is everywhere, you can’t get a damn thing done, you are frustrated and going insane….
Fuck it! Join them, so what if your 15-minute scheduled break turns into an hour of you doing craft with your kids or watching a movie with your partner or dancing and singing at the top of your lungs with your room mates. Spending quality time with the people you love is looking after yourself. Self-care is extremely important and human connection is something that fills our cup and keeps our wellbeing on track. Most importantly that connection be it in person or via technology is important, it is what is going to get us through this uncertain time. Embrace it! love it! work will be there in an hour once you’ve looked after you and connected with those you need to. Now excuse me I’m going to got act like a complete idiot with my wife and son……
Ben Russoniello | ©benrussoniello2020