There is a new normal for a lot of people working from home or remotely. At a recent staff meeting, several staff members were asked to share how they manage working at home. This is some of the wisdom that was shared:
- Designate somewhere in your home where you will “go to work” each time. It might be a small corner of a larger room, or a small room shared with no one else. Set it up as a space that is conducive for you to work as best you can. Some people even “dress for work” to help establish what mode they are in.
- Take your Breaks! It is extremely important to take whatever breaks are allotted to you even though you are at home. “Make sure you go somewhere else other than your workspace.” For example, go outside for some fresh air as just one of the ways you can completely remove yourself from your work environment for a few moments. When you eat your lunch, eat at the family table. It will allow you to rest your eyes which have been staring at the computer screen for a long time and possibly even have a conversation with your toddler.
- Don’t try to multi-task work responsibilities with home responsibilities. It is so tempting to just throw in a load of laundry while you wait for someone to respond to you at work. However, if you are preoccupied with listening for that call, you may find all your t-shirts and undies a lovely shade of blue because you washed your new jeans in hot water with them. Or it’s possible that the report you need to turn in by 8 AM is deleted the night before by your spouse who needs a quick look at the weather report. Remember, you do have to assess the situation and determine which issue you need to address first to bring about the most peace. If your kids are in a screaming match, it may behoove you to address that before placing that call to your boss. It lets you give time to the children and to your boss with a calm and collected frame of mind.
- Designate somewhere to decompress when your work hours are over. We no longer have those rides home to transition from “work you” to “home you.” One of the things stressed here is that the environment be one where you can relax, clear your mind, have total silence (if possible) or music that soothes. One of our speakers shared that she watches cartoons to help ease the work stress away, while another described a place where she can intentionally remain quiet, light a candle, and breathe.
We are all getting used to a “new normal,” which is stressful and can be frustrating. We found the reminders to be present in our reality regardless of where it might be. Setting boundaries around our time, location, and how we dress will help us to know that we don’t have to be “on” 24/7. Most importantly, take one day at a time, everything will be okay!