So we find ourselves once again, working and learning remotely – and with a level of uncertainty around for how long and how often this will occur.
This can present a lot of challenges – some emotional, concerning missing everyday movement and the connection with peers, and others more practical, focused on balancing the challenges of everyone being at home with different needs for work, learning, exercise, space and so on.
For some, there are challenges that no amount of positivity or optimism can change or help with. If this applies to you, please take the time to get in contact with one of the many organisations you can utilize for help at this time – asking for help is a strong choice when the situation demands it. The school is also here for you to support where possible. That is the kind of community we have.
For others though, there can also be a lot of positives if we choose to focus on them, and making the change to create new routines and rituals that may actually suit us. It may just take a little proactivity – and a little bit of conscious gratitude around the possible benefits and upsides. If this applies to you, maybe consider some of the following things we could be grateful for:
Research has shown that many of us can actually be more productive working at home. There are less distractions at home – and problems are more easily solved as people have to think carefully about them before communicating them via email. Little things tend to take care of themselves more, leaving us to focus on what is most important.
You might even find yourself spending less time travelling, giving you more time to work on projects or balance your work with your home life – working from home might even better allow you to do this!
It’s worth asking yourself whether working from home allows you to get more things done – you might even find this experience helps you in the future to negotiate some of your time working at home each week.
Less Travel and Less Face-to-Face Meetings
There are definitely some things about working from home that are like rabbits that cannot be returned to the metaphorical magician’s hat. One of those is definitely meetings. I think many of us have proven that meet remotely can be just as effective as driving to another workplace to meet. And while there will always be a need for proper face to face communication in certain circumstances, many regular or ad-hoc work catch ups will likely remain online.
I think this also applies for professional development and training sessions – which often involved for us locals a trip in the train or on the freeway into the city. Now we can relax with a cup of tea and ugg boots on after work and catch up in a more relaxed way on some creative thinking and new ideas – all from the comfort and security of our homes! This may make life a lot easier in the future – and help us balance work, professional learning and parenting.
I am guessing the environment is thanking us right now too. Not only am I spending less on petrol, my car is contributing less to global warming and I am taking up cycling and walking a lot more even when I do need to be out.
In a recent article on Workplace Wellbeing, I mentioned that working from home can actually be a relief for some as they can more easily avoid office politics and negativity from others. It’s true that working from home can present some with more control over their working environment – limiting time spent with time wasters or “negative nancies”. This can have a dramatic impact on your day and on your wellbeing and overall happiness. If you are finding this the case for you – it may be indicating the need for some changes or some difficult conversations when you return to the workplace, so you can keep up the same level of positivity and productivity
More Work Life Balance
Extra time at home, or a closer connection to those at home helps us to really think about that elusive work- life balance that we all strive for.
This is even more important during COVID19 for a number of reasons…
These are all good reasons to be more conscious of this right now. With less travel time you might just be finding the work-life balance easier to manage if you are conscious of sticking to work hours and walking away from the computer.
Control Over Your Environment
Is your home office just that tiny bit better than your office at work? Why? The comfy slippers? The music you can put on? The chatty colleague who is elsewhere? The cups of tea and coffee readily available?
Try to take pleasure in the small things – even if it is the occasional visit from a child impacting your workflow.. remember it is an expression of love you will miss in days to come!
Practicing gratitude for the positives in times of challenge can be a great strategy to reprogram out brains to focus on what DOES work, especially in times such as these. And time at home can be something to cherish and learn from.
Are there any other benefits I am missing? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and these may support others who are struggling with the right balance here too.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto