Thanks for meeting with me today. You’ve been working from home for a few weeks now, so I wanted to check in on you and offer some support.
How’s your mental health?
We’re still getting to know each other so I’m not sure if you get more energy from being alone or with others. I do know that most people these days need more support than they did a month ago.
If you’re an introvert, you’re probably enjoying this time away from colleagues. On the other hand, the constant proximity of other people in your household could have you feeling drained and stifled. If that’s the case, make sure you’re setting aside enough alone time to recharge.
If you’re an extrovert, it’s possible that working from home has you feeling isolated and in need of more connection. Scheduling virtual happy hours, team meetings, or colleague check-ins can help you stay sane.
How are you balancing family needs?
One of the biggest complications your work-from-home colleagues are experiencing is the need to occupy children.
If you have kids at home, hopefully you have another caregiver who can share the responsibility with you. Scheduling alternating child duty shifts is a good way to make sure you both get some focused work time.
If you’re shouldering the full burden of child care (or even just some of it) perhaps you’ve already lowered your expectations for what you can accomplish. If not, you might benefit from doing so.
We all need to accept the burdens and limitations of this unprecedented time. This includes tempering, when possible, others’ desires with what’s realistic. It may bring some initial disappointment; it will also make success more likely.
Are you staying productive?
Working from home offers a lot of flexibility that I hope you will take advantage of. As long as you get your work done and are available for meetings, it’s up to you to decide when and where to work.
With less distinction between the office and home, it can be easy to stretch assignments across more hours and switch frequently between personal and professional tasks. To avoid that trap–and to free up as much discretionary time as possible–be efficient and productive with what you need to do so you can more quickly get to what you want to do.
Here are some tips:
- Plan your work schedule around your most alert and focused times of day and/or when you are least likely to be interrupted.
- Create a comfortable workspace–ideally one that is dedicated solely to work.
- Minimize distractions.
- Practice healthy eating, sleeping, and exercising.
- Take breaks every two hours, and do your best to be present in what you are doing.
How are you making sure you have some fun?
Remember that play is a way to nourish your mind and body. All work and no play is not only sad, it’s shortsighted.
Once you have a schedule, figure out what kind of activities you want to pursue when you’re not working. How much flexibility do you want to maintain? If the sun comes out unexpectedly, will you shift your schedule?
If you’re a high achiever with newly relaxed deliverables and deadlines, this is a great time to take on a stretch project, clear your to-do list, or explore a creative endeavor. It’s also an opportune moment to collaborate with others who find themselves with an unusual amount of available time.
Giving yourself permission to enjoy unique opportunities can be a gift in itself. So, please, have some fun. And also prepare yourself for returning to work when it’s time.
I realize I’ve been doing all of the talking up to this point. I’ll mute myself now so you can take it from here.