Contrary to popular belief—and as many of you are now finding out—working from home is not for the faint of heart. It takes discipline AND flexibility. And the same is likely true even if you’re not working right now. I hope some of these tips may be helpful to you.
Wear what makes you feel good. Listen, I’m sure some of you enjoy the freedom of working in your sweats or pajamas, but that doesn’t work for everyone. If you are someone who feels better when you get dressed, then you should do it. It shouldn’t matter if you are going to see other people throughout the day or not, if you feel better with hair combed and makeup on, then that’s what you should do. Remember, your mental health is important too, so do what makes you feel good even if you feel silly doing it.
You do NOT have to be at your desk from 9-5. When working from home, it’s easy to think that you have to be chained to your desk. If someone calls and you’re not there, you wonder if they will believe you are working. But even in an office setting, you are not at your desk all day. You go to meetings, out to lunch, to get a drink of water, and more without worrying that people won’t think you’re working hard enough. Just remember, voicemails and can be returned later.
Set a schedule, but be flexible. You’re still working, so it’s very useful to have a schedule of when you will be working—and a set spot in the house—just like when you went to the office (in fact, routine is helpful for everyone at times like this). Of course, in these days and times, and for those of us with kids “distance learning,” schedules get interrupted. The great thing about working from home, however, is that people don’t necessarily care WHEN the work is getting done as long as it IS getting done on time. So, if you have to comfort a child now and then work tonight, that may be okay.
Take a break. Remember that sometimes even when you’re the busiest or the most overwhelmed and think you can’t afford to take a break, that’s when you need one the most. And often, if you take that break, watch that show, take a nap, you will actually be more productive when you sit back down. Even calling a friend or walking the dog can give you that reprieve and remind you that there are others like us out there. When in doubt, just stand up and stretch or walk around for a few minutes (remember sitting is the new smoking).
Flexibility is a double-edged sword. It’s great that you can do your work remotely and that you can be there for the kids/parents/loved ones, but sometimes work and home life can blur together too much, hampering both. Your kids think you always work and don’t actually enjoy being with them, and you feel unproductive or like you’re failing at both. Remember to try to find the balance between being flexible and too flexible. This may mean you don’t work past a certain hour, or you stop checking emails at a set time. You may need to take a day off or put your computer down sometimes. Remember that you’re doing this for your loved ones and they need you healthy and sane.
Change the scenery once in a while. Okay, this one is tougher given the social distancing, but it’s not impossible. Even if running out for coffee or lunch is not an option today, even working on the patio or on the couch, rather than your regular work spot can change your attitude from time to time.
Try not to sweat the small stuff. When working from home, the occasional dog barking or child interrupting is bound to happen. And especially now, most people will not think twice about these things as it’s happening to them as well. So, try not to stress about it too much.
Cut yourself some slack. This can be a tough transition even in the best of times—especially if the bulk of family responsibilities end up falling on you. But try to be grateful that we live in a time when so many of us CAN work from home. And if you’re not working, try to take some joy in being with your family, taking classes online, getting the chance to Marie Kondo your home, or whatever you can do that helps feed your soul a bit.
Gasber Financial is here to help you simplify your life and make confident decisions during even the most stressful of life’s transitions. Please call for more information or with any questions you may have.