Keeping It Cool: How to Maintain Your Performance and Sanity While Working From Home
Whether you’re new to working from home or you’ve found that the early novelty has worn off, it’s sometimes tricky to stay motivated, productive, and sane in a home office.
There are many challenges to working from home. More distractions, isolation, and the feeling like you are trying to work in the wrong environment are just a few.
What started out feeling freeing and exciting can easily become overwhelming and exhausting.
You’re not alone in feeling like this.
Just about everyone who makes the switch from office life to home office life experiences these challenges. It’s an adjustment, and the shift needs acknowledging.
Everyone needs a little help every now and again. You can make staying sane and retain your productivity levels by following these tips:
Create A Space That’s Just For Work
If you are working from home, you need a space that is dedicated to working.
The ideal situation is an office with a door on it. You can have your desk set up and effectively “go to work” each day and then “leave work” at the end of it. On the weekends, you can even close the office door and not go in there at all.
Of course, it’s not always possible to have a room dedicated to work.
You can still set up an area in your home that is your “office space”. Try to make it a place where you will just do work, and not part of your relaxation space. The number one rule is to never work from your bed or your sofa.
Chat And Socialize With Your Colleagues
One of the biggest things that we miss out on when working from home is the bonding and socialization aspect of office life.
We regularly chat to our colleagues at the desks close to us, in the corridors, or in the office canteen. These conversations may be trivial in nature but they are essential to our mental wellbeing. They create a human connection that we crave.
When working from home, you tend to just talk to your colleagues during official meetings or to send them a chat message about work. The banal, everyday chat gets forgotten about and we begin to feel more and more isolated.
Take time to have social chats with your colleagues. Just pop into the chat and ask how they are or what they’re getting up to on the weekend. The difference in your well-being will amaze you.
If you work for yourself and don’t have colleagues, try joining a few networking groups for people in similar situations. These people will become your pseudo colleagues and can become a support system during the working day. These groups are an essential part of the entrepreneur or digital nomad lifestyle.
Don’t Always Put Your Camera On
Zoom fatigue is a real thing.
The effect of constantly videoconferencing to replace old-fashioned face-to-face interactions is potentially hugely detrimental to the psyche.
Instead of looking at the other people in the chat, we tend to become acutely aware of what we look like and get distracted by watching our own movements. It’s also hard to read expressions through videoconferencing, so we spend time looking for visual cues that might not be there.
If you need to chat to a colleague or have a meeting with your team, you don’t need to always have your camera on every single time.
Instead, try putting it on at the beginning say hello to the other people in the call and then turn off your camera so you just talk to each other.
Let The People You Live With Know You’re Working
When you work from home, distractions can build up easily.
There’s laundry to be done, pets to play with and any number of chores that you might think you should do because you’re at home.
Another big distraction can be the people you live with. If they’re not used to the idea of working from home, they may not realize that coming to talk to you or asking you to do things for them or with them is not acceptable.
It’s important to let your family or housemates know that between certain hours you are not available for anything other than real emergencies.
They can’t ask you to help them move a bookcase or see if you can go to the shops after lunch.
If it’s during office or working hours, you are at work and need to treat those hours respectfully. Working from home requires discipline from everyone and an understanding that you are not free to do whatever you want at any time.
Don’t Work 24/7
It’s so tempting to work all hours of the day because you don’t have a distinction between when you’re at work and when you’re at home.
When you are going into an office, it’s clear that working hours are when you are in the office and relaxation hours are when you aren’t there.
Another problem many people face is forgetting to clock off at the end of the day. Email gets left open so you can check it while making dinner, or you don’t realize that it’s well past 6pm and you’re still working.
Studies have shown that remote work can have a major impact on sleep. It’s therefore essential that you set proper boundaries for yourself about working hours.
If your company only expects you to work between 9am and 5pm, then set alarms for these times. This will ensure that you don’t regularly start work too early, or finish too late.
If you work for yourself, set reasonable working hours that suit you. Do your best to stick to those hours as often as possible.
Learn To Love The Remote Work Lifestyle
Part of working from home and staying sane is creating a new state of mind. You need to switch your mindset and accept the new normal. Whatever that normal may look like.
Avoiding the dreaded productivity slump is easier with these tips. Before long, you may find that you embrace the digital nomad lifestyle and that you cannot imagine ever going back to the office.