Remember when we could easily separate work from the time at home? We were programmed to start the workday as soon as we walked through our office door. Seeing our co-workers and getting to sit at your desk pressed the power button to start with our work tasks for the day.
At the beginning of 2020, many of us had to leave this in the past. Suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic that forced us to socially distance to prevent the virus from spreading—this global situation brought for many the beginning of working from home mode.
Almost a year has passed in which we have been adapting to this new normal. In 2021 we already know what it is to work from home, but we face a new stage to find how to stay in this new work modality while keeping ourselves happy and productive.
We must remain creative at home to implement strategies that allow us to have a real transition from work to home because, in the end, we are physically in the same place.
The challenges that being at home represent are different for each of us. Among others, we can find those alone at home, those accompanied only by their partner, or the house where they are parents and children.
We can find things to do for each of these scenarios to keep us happy, motivated, and productive working from home.
Embrace Solo Working at Home
When the stay-at-home order began, many companies had to change their way of working in the office to working from home. For people who live alone, that meant stopping interacting with other people throughout the day. Going to the office and having guests at home were important ways to stay connected with others. Although living alone does not necessarily mean that you suffer from loneliness, studies indicate that living alone while working from home can put us at risk of feeling lonely.
To handle loneliness when we are at home is essential to understand the difference between loneliness and solitude. One of the positive aspects of not living in someone else’s company is that you can feel the tranquility, silence, and space around you. You can freely do things that you enjoy doing alone and require concentration, such as reading, meditating, writing or paint.
As introverted as some of us are, we will always feel the need to be with others in one way or another. Always schedule a time in your day to stay connected with your loved ones, whether by phone call, Zoom, email, or text message. When you are on that call or sending that message, dedicate that time only to it, avoid watching television or checking your email when you find yourself talking with that person who is important to you.
Stay active daily, exercising, or doing some physical activity can improve our well-being and mood. You can schedule virtual meetings with friends to do your workouts together.
With the freedom that living alone brings, you can easily change the scenery. You can leave the city and find a place to connect with nature. Being in natural settings will make you feel part of a vast world, which will help you feel less alone.
Working Remotely and In Love
Being in a successful couple relationship means maintaining the independence and individual spaces of each one. Now we must work from home, and how we lived as a couple is being affected by the fact that we are in the same place working, living, and entertaining ourselves together. One of the spaces in which each person functioned independently before the pandemic was the office that we attended from Monday to Friday. Today our office is under the same roof, and we have to learn to differentiate the time to work and where the time to relax in the same place.
Let us start looking for the positive side of working from home as a couple because this can be an opportunity to get to know each other better, understand each other better and be more empathic with each other. We can establish work schedules together, match our free time, go for a walk after work, talk about how the day is going in the mid-morning, or have lunch together. Although being in your partner’s company is great, we must always seek to keep in touch with other people. To maintain a healthy relationship, we need to have a social life outside of the couple’s life. Schedule video calls with friends to have coffee and stay in touch with the people who matter.
There are ways of working from home as a couple as there are couples in this world. Hence, regardless of the things we decide to do to make it work, the important thing is to keep communicating, check-in with each other at the end of the day, and talk about it to reach agreements together.
Experts recommend designing a system to work together that works for both of us. Set rules that allow you to stay focused on work and schedule lunch or break times to have the freedom to chat or check Instagram together.
In these pandemic times that we are experiencing, we must be aware that there will be moments of despair, boredom, or impatience, and when this happens, do your best to lighten up and understand each other. Find fun and romantic activities that you can do at home, or maybe you can schedule a road trip to a nearby and safe place where you can go and relax together.
Working from Home with Your Little Ones
If you are a working parent, I bet you know what it means to manage the hours of the day between work, family, housework, and allow yourself to find moments in the day to dedicate to self-care as well.
It was already complicated when we could go to our offices, and our children could attend their schools, now that the order to stay at home is still in force, our working days have become something that we had never imagined would be so challenging.
Working from home and school online have been two things that came like a hurricane to turn our lives upside down. The routine we were already used to with our children had to change suddenly. From one day to the other, we had to be at home doing our daily tasks together. We had to set a school and an office under the same roof where our children’s classes and jobs start every morning. There have been days of crisis where mom and dad have a work meeting while one of the children needs help in the math class. If you are a parent who finds yourself in this situation and feels that what we have to cope with is impossible, I want to tell you that it is normal for you to feel this way because working from home with children is truly impossible.
Although what we now know as our routine is hard, life goes on, and we can adapt to this new normal, always thinking that our children studying from home is something temporary that we do for their well-being.
We must realize that if this is new for us, it is also new for our children, and if before all this we had already managed to have routines that worked for us, now we must create a new way that helps us carry out the essential tasks first, and secondly, what we would like to be able to do. Since we get up, there are many things we must do to make our family function. We do household chores, prepare the children for their classes, have everything ready for our work, schedule the day’s meals, make sure that family members have moments of entertainment and physical activity. Something that can work for many of us is to create a weekly program with scheduled activities from Monday to Friday, where the time of the bathroom, school, work, exercise, and bedtime is always the same.
Try to physically separate the office from the school at home and talk with your children about why your space work should be in another room. They will understand that their parents need a private space because there are meetings in which they need privacy and silence. Make them know that they can count on your help, and maybe will be times when you cannot do it right away because you are in a meeting, but as soon as you finish, you will help them in whatever they need.
As parents and adults, we must spend time for our self-care to keep ourselves happy and calm while working from home with children. Exercising, practicing meditation, going for a walk, or doing yoga, are some options to keep you moving to take care of your well-being.
Try to get out of the routine occasionally to mitigate the stress that having to be all at home has generated us. A great alternative can be to change your scenery by going to a nearby family-friendly place where we can set up an office and a school in a home away from home. Consider a natural area where children and grown-ups can enjoy and connect with nature away from crowds.
Be a Happy and Healthy Remote Worker
Whether you are working at home alone, with your partner, or with your whole family, the main thing is to continue taking care of each other by staying at home, practicing social distancing, wearing two masks, and always washing your hands to prevent this virus from spreading. We must all adapt to this new normal in the best possible way by making our well-being and mental health a priority to stay happy and positive while all this passes by.