I started my first full time job 2 months ago, and so far I have been working from home 3 days a week (which will now be 5 days a week due to this lockdown). Working from home has certainly felt strange at times, and I can certainly say that it hasn’t been easy starting a new job working from home. However, it is certainly manageable and I want to use this blog post to talk about things that have helped me whilst working from home. Note that I have only been in this job from 2 months, so I am by no means experienced in the workplace.
I try to schedule and attend informal catch up calls with colleagues
My company have been fantastic in arranging regular coffee break calls which have allowed us to take a break from work during working hours. Furthermore, I have also arranged a few one on one calls myself with people from different offices, which have allowed me to build some genuine friendships. I have found that informal catch up calls have helped massively with staying connected with other members of the team, which is one of the biggest challenges when working remotely.
When everyone is in the office, it is really easy to have a bit of spontaneous banter with other members of the team. However, in a remote setting this is much harder to do, and it is often necessary to be proactive and plan in advance when it comes to planning fun catch up calls with others. One thing that I have found when arranging catch up calls is that people are generally very happy to take time out of their day to have an informal catch up with you, unless they are genuinely swamped with work and deadlines. And if you are a new starter, informal catch up calls are a good way to make friends!
When I log off for the end of the day, I don’t log back on
In my opinion, one of the hardest things about working from home is the lack of separation between work and leisure, as your home is now your office and also the place where you relax. It is so important to try and maintain a level of separation between work and leisure even when working from home, and to do that you sometimes have to set some boundaries. One of the boundaries I set myself is to make sure that when I log off for the end of the day, I don’t log back on. This allows me to properly switch off from work once I finish a working day.
When you are working in the office, you wouldn’t commute back to the office to do some more work once you leave after a working day. However, it is super easy to log back on and do some more work after you log off when working from home. It may involve forcing yourself to not log back on every now and then, but getting in the habit of switching off from work after you log off can really help with your mental health and wellbeing.
I make sure the room I am working in is tidy before I start work
When I go in the office, everything is tidy and neat and that puts me in ease and makes me feel more comfortable. Therefore, I try to make sure that when I am working from home, I tidy the room and desk before I start work. This helps me work with a clear mind, and not be distracted by my surroundings. I appreciate that not everyone has the best conditions when working from home. For example, some people may work in a very small desk, and others may be working in their beds. However, I do believe that decluttering and keeping your surroundings tidy makes a difference when it comes to working productively. Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes to tidy my surroundings before I start working, but I thank myself afterwards when the day goes well.
I try my best to be kind to myself
I have always been of the view that being kind to yourself is really important, and just as important as being kind to others. There are challenges when working from home, and it can affect people’s mental health and wellbeing at times. I agree that the people who have secure jobs that they enjoy in this pandemic should feel grateful, as not everyone is as lucky. However, I also feel that this expectation to be grateful for your job can mean that it is hard to open up to others when you are struggling. As a result, there are sadly many people that feel trapped behind a screen for 8 hours a day and are suffering in silence. Even I have had those times where I have felt down about the situation, and I really miss the face the face interaction and socials that would have happened in more normal times. But I have tried to be kind to myself as much as possible, as I know that this isn’t an easy situation. When I feel down, I try to acknowledge my feelings for what it is rather than force myself to be grateful at that moment. Furthermore, I also try to be kind to myself by taking regular breaks from my desk as well as taking a full hour for lunch.
Has there been anything that has helped you when working from home?