The current global pandemic has impacted a number of aspects within our usual social lives. From border closures across various countries to staying inside to save lives, there’s no doubt in my mind that the current shifts we’re seeing across the globe will have lasting consequences for us all.
But one thing I’ve had to seriously adjust in my routine is working from home. In all of my working career, I’ve always been ‘onsite’ to do my job and duties. There’s something about waking up, wearing my best work attire and hearing the clicks of my heels on the tiled floors in our office building. Now, I wake up, wear jeans and casual tees and hear the lazy trudges of my Uggs in my apartment.
1. Show Up and Dress Up
I love the part of my day when I wake up and make the conscious effort to slide my heels on and don a work blouse. I may not own a Jessica Pearson power work suit just yet, but a girl can dream, and I certainly try my best to be presentable at the office. But since working from home, wearing sweats became my new work attire. The thing about this is, as comfortable as it is to wear sweats and casual tees, it’s also what I wear over the weekend, and doesn’t help me distinguish between work time and personal time. In essence, it doesn’t help with creating a boundary between what’s for work and what’s for the weekends.
This may not apply for everyone but something I’ve learned while working from home is to still make the conscious effort of waking up (on time), dressing up, and showing up.
Now I will admit, I’m not exactly wearing heels and my slim fit trousers. You’ll catch me in trainers or slippers quite often but I haven’t skimped out on wearing my favourite perfume that gives me a confidence boost. I’ve gone incredibly minimal with my makeup, and throwing on a splash of colour never hurts.
For me, there is a direct relationship between looking good and feeling good, and once I have put in the work to still dress up for work, I feel good about myself and can still start my day on a good note.
2. Maintain Your Work Schedule
This was harder to do than that I thought. In my first week of working from home, I abandoned all things that I would normally do during my work day – I’d snooze my alarm for an extra 30min of sleep, I wasn’t writing as much notes as I would have, and working while eating a sandwich during lunch became a thing.
But this goes back to my point of creating a boundary for yourself between your work schedule and your ‘you’ schedule. Work begins at 8am for me – that hasn’t changed, but it became easy to continue working past 5pm, which is my knock off time.
So again, working from home taught me to still maintain my work schedule. Start work when I do, take a step back from my laptop and get fresh air for my lunch, and close this laptop when it’s time to knock off. And maintaining a work schedule isn’t only about the time aspect of work. I kept my work flow in a number of other ways.
My manager and I meet every morning to catch up and plan for the day. I still make my morning coffee. I do virtual lunches with colleagues. I listen to our work playlist to invoke our office vibe. These are all just small things that have helped me stay productive in an environment that is my home.
3. Have a Dedicated Work Space
Like I mentioned before in my previous point, I abandoned a lot of the things that made work, work, including creating a space that I would be my designated desk. In the beginning, I chose comfort over practicality and would work either on my couch or be. That’s great for the first two hours, but then I got too cozy in these places and found it difficult to fully focus on my tasks without wanting to sink deeper into the cushions.
I actually do have a desk in my bedroom but it’s my creative corner, completely dedicated to the work I do outside of my 8-5. And again, this goes back to creating those boundaries between work and your home. My creative corner is one where I had to separate it from everything else that I do. It was the boundary I placed to say that once I closed my work laptop at 5pm, I can come to this space and work on my photography or vlog or journal my thoughts and ideas for projects I wanted to work on next.
My kitchen counter became the designated area to work on. It worked for the longest time (although I took too many short trips to the fridge for snacks) but had to change it up because the kitchen stools have no back support (and slouching my back for 8 hours isn’t fun). This aspect of working from home took some time and adjusting to get used to, but it certainly still ties into the common thread that ties each of these points – create that boundary!
After just under 3 weeks of working from home, of course I miss my work desk and the office vibe and the people that I work with. But given our current circumstances, doing all that we can to decrease the spread of COVID-19 is what matters. But even though working from home for the first time has been quite the adjustment for me, I hope that these 3 things will help you in some way if you find yourself in the same situation. Above all else, the strategy you implement in how you will work remotely needs to be a personal one. Do what works for you and your own circumstances. Posts like mine are meant to be inspirational and provide ideas but you’ll find that what I say may not be the best for you; that’s okay. Just as long as you do what is best for you.