As a Life Coach, I have now “worked from home” for nearly 14 years now so lockdown hasn’t altered that element of my life but I am only too aware of both the positives and negatives that working from home can bring.
This week I have discussed with several clients the difficulties they are facing with working from home and how to deal with them. It goes without saying that during lockdown we are up against all sorts of other issues to contend with that wouldn’t usually factor when working from home like home schooling, limited time to go outside and get a change of scenery or going into a work space for a meeting and having actual face to face interaction with others.
So what can you do during this time to help yourself work from home?
- Stick to routine and some sort of structure – that might seem to negate the flexibility we often feel from working at home but actually it’s crucial. Stick to set working hours even if your workplace is not requesting that.
- Set up your workspace somewhere that allows you to concentrate and focus. This can be difficult in small shared spaces but it might be that you have to negotiate with other family members that they give you space at certain times of day if possible.
- Keep the space clear of clutter – if it’s space that the rest of the family need to use, box up everything at the end of each day and remove it from harms way, that might be very tedious but will save you long term anxiety. So what if you have to set up each day – it’s not like we don’t have the time?
- Be realistic about what needs to be achieved each day? What are the expectations from your place of work? We are in abnormal times, it is unlikely that we have all the things necessary to work as effectively at home as we do in the office so managing expectations is key. If you feel your boss/workplace is being unrealistic, you need to have that discussion with them.
- Once you know what’s expected, plan it out. What do you need to achieve each day? How will your day work in order to achieve that? It might be more than usual, it might be less but we have to adjust accordingly. Schedule in breaks and times to deal with other abnormal expectations like checking on the kids to make sure they are doing school work etc. Maybe some days are busier than others?
We all have different ways of working, you might find that you are far more productive either very early in the morning OR late at night and if your work allows you to work during those times and if it suits your current circumstances, then do what you need to do, this is not forever.
Working from home can be hugely rewarding and liberating but you need to be disciplined to get the best results. If you are juggling many tasks as well as trying to work, I would suggest putting aside some time each day to get those tasks done whether it’s hanging the washing out, delivery food to a vulnerable relative or finding endless snacks for bored kids – work in blocks if you can. A couple of hours here, an hour to do other tasks and then another couple of hours of work.
Do not beat yourself up, this is all new, it’s stressful, it’s not “normal life” and we are all trying to find ways to manage it. If in doubt or if you are struggling, speak up, there will be many people doing exactly that, you are not alone.