The last time I worked from home (WFH) was for a few days in 2018 when I strained the tendon in my right foot and couldn’t walk for days.
I’ve always preferred to go into the office than work from home I think it’s partly because I like to keep those two aspects of my life separate, there’s no proper workspace at home (no standup desk or ergonomic chair), and partly, my commute is fairly short and I enjoy that (I don’t have to contend with hours on a crowded train and traffic).
When the world began to grapple with Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and everyone who could, was told to WFH and #StayHome and self isolation began trending, well, I, like many people, I became a WFH rookie. I had no choice but to figure out this new normal and to come to terms with the fact that this would likely go on for several months.
I wasn’t sure how well I do on the coping scale, 10 being awesome, one being image needs medication. What with my previous struggle with burnout and anxiety, and dealing with the winter blues well, I was thinking maybe I’d end up scoring a four (extra points for resilience).
The first few days were a bit disorienting, it felt like every day could have been Monday…or Saturday. But now 25 days in, I’ve got a much better handle on this WFH thing and can share with you guys a few things that made the transition from office to home, less uncomfortable.
Firstly, being an introvert definitely came in handy! The quiet and so much time without people hasn’t been much an adjustment (I do miss social interactions and my morning chats with the baristas such a normal way to start my day). I get this point clearly isn’t helpful if you’re more extroverted but keep reading, I’ll share more practical WFH strategies.
It’s also finally spring and the sun is out and the weather is warmer. Since I swear I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), having this kind of weather and all this sunshine has been pretty awesome! My mood and attitude are better for it.
5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME
My introvert personality type and sunshine mood booster remedies asides, here are 5 practical tips that I’ve found helpful for adjusting to WFH if you’re new at it:
1. Stick to your morning routine – I try to stick to my mellow morning routine (with the major adjustment of not heading out to start my day, but staying in). I wake up at the same time each morning as if I were going in to the office, do a 10- minute meditation, and then 20-minute yoga using a free fitness app (mostly stretches for my lower back because sitting all day hurts), then shower and get dressed (in comfy clothes) and finally have breakfast before I log-on and start my workday. I treat it like any other workday and this routine helps me find and keep my daily rhythm.
2. Designate a specific area to work – I spent one day working from my sofa and realized that was a horrible idea (avoid working on your bed, unless you’re doing a photoshoot for Instagram, it’s really not practical).
I have a plain $30 Ikea desk at home that was being used as a dumping ground for magazines and papers but now serves as designated workspace with a chair from my dining table.
3. Take a real lunch ‘break’ – This is very important. It’s the perfect time to cultivate a new habit if you’re the type to work through lunch. Please step away from your workstation and take regular breaks. Eat lunch away from your desk, go for a 15-minute walk (social distancing of course) and feel the sun on your face, and simply enjoy the break to the fullest. It’s good for your health.
4. Move your body- I have chronic lower back issues and I don’t have an ergonomic set up at home so it’s important for me to avoid sitting for hours on end.
5. Stay connected – Keep in touch with the coworkers and have a virtual coffee break, a laugh and enjoy that time of staying connected and virtual social interaction.
Theses simple and practical steps have helped me to have a smoother transition to WFH than I expected.
I know I said I didn’t much care for WFH but I’m so grateful for the ability to do so when so many people around the world don’t have that opportunity. I think having a sense of gratitude is the biggest impact on my mental wellness in a time of self-isolation.
Hope these tips have been helpful!