By Anna Jovel
SOS Account Executive
Whew… It’s been a quite a whirlwind the last couple of weeks. Many people’s lives have been turned upside down since the start of the COVID-19 spread. There is worry about loved ones becoming at risk, travel bans put in place, a lack of toilet paper, and as many of you are experiencing, the need to work from home.
How’s it going? Have you changed out of your pajamas yet? Personally, I don’t mind working from home. I actually get A LOT done. But I think part of my problem with working from home is that there is no separation of work time versus home time so my reaction is just to be in work mode, all the time. As you can imagine, the “work all the time mindset” can definitely cause some stress. Have kiddos that are stuck at home too? Bring on the additional stress.
So, how do we balance this new lifestyle during this time? Below are some tips and tricks that I have read about or personally experienced:
1. Manage expectations, or as Forbes Magazine calls it, “Get real with your boss and teammates.” Be forthright and let your clients, your teammates, and your Board know what is happening in your world today and what your game plan is to handle it. A simple message stating your circumstance and that you are still committed to supporting your organization goes a long way.
2. “Create (and maintain) a designated workspace,” (Business News Daily). Having a designated workspace (and using it) allows you to focus your attention to the task at hand. Personally, this has helped me to find the balance between my home and work life. I have set up a desk space with my computers, notes, etc., and when I sit in this space, it is time to work. I do not use it for anything else. When I step away, I can be in a different mindset to take a walk, help my kids, or focus on something else.
3. Do not, I repeat, do not, use your bed for your workspace. The American College of Healthcare Sciences suggests that working in bed, “limits focus, decreases productivity, and hurts sleep.” Your mind associates your bed as a space for rest and recovery. If you begin to utilize it as a space for work, the next time “you lay in bed to call it a night your mind will continue to think.” Additionally, is there enough space in your bed to be productive? When working, it is important to organize your materials to remain focused. When you are in your bed, surrounded by blankets and pillows, it can be difficult to lay out all of your materials and get the work done productively.
4. Utilize video conferencing. At work, many of us are used to the social interactions that occur between teammates and clients. Now that we are all stuck in our homes we are missing out on a lot of social opportunities. Using video conferencing instead of phone calls helps to bring some of that social interaction back to our new work environments. It also helps to focus productivity. Often, when you are on a phone call, it is hard to know if someone is really paying attention or when they have finished their thought. The ability to see facial expressions helps us to bring back some of that body language, an integral part of human connection and communication, into our meetings or conversations.
5. Have kids at home? Practice patience. “Trying to remain at the top of your game at work while also taking care of young children is completely unrealistic,” (Forbes).
- Be patient with yourself – take walks to maintain your sanity, lower the expectations of yourself, ask for extensions on deadlines when you need them.
- Be patient with your clients and teammates – more than likely, these people are experiencing similar circumstances. Some projects that you are working on might become delayed or new projects become a higher priority due to the current situation. It is okay to rearrange the priority of projects and it is okay to put things on hold (just make sure everyone is on the same page first).
- Be patient with your children – most are not used to having to learn at home. Always remember to pick your battles and if you can get them to be engaged in some type of learning for a couple of hours a day, you have succeeded.
We are all in this together. Sending health, safety, and well wishes your way during this time.
Gausepohl, Shannon. “7 Ways to Improve Work-Life Balance When You Work at Home.” Business News Daily, Businessnewsdaily.com, 23 Feb. 2017, www.businessnewsdaily.com/7712-work-life-balance-home-entrepreneurs.html.
Robben, Brian. “Never Do Homework In Bed: 3 Reasons Why.” Accredited Online Holistic Health College, 2016, info.achs.edu/blog/never-do-homework-in-bed-3-reasons-why.
Whitehead, Kourtney. “5 Tips To Balance Remote Working While Your Family Is Also At Home.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 18 Mar. 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/kourtneywhitehead/2020/03/15/5-tips-to-balance-remote-working-while-your-family-is-also-at-home/#2eb2471c4843.