15 April 2020

Working from Home: a Madness or a Mercy?

I have experienced both the wonders and struggles of working from home over the last few weeks, and seeing as its about time I get another blog post out there, I thought this situation to be the perfect topic!

While I am no expert when it comes to working from home, nor am I any more experienced in it than from the last 3 weeks I’ve been doing it, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my experience, and what I find works well for keeping a productive mind-set!

Thankfully, I work for the wonderful company that is Siemens, who, from the beginning of this ‘situation’ made it clear to everyone that if we were more comfortable working from home as a precaution, then we were more than welcome to do so.

Following this communication, and wanting to take all steps I could for the safety of those around me and myself, I quickly set up home office.

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, one thing I really enjoy about the working life, is the structure and routine it brings when in comparison to the erratic ways of student life. I thus realized that I would need to set out a routine for myself at home and thought about what this might entail.
There is plenty of research out there suggesting why a routine is important when working from home, and in general routines can help you manage and improve your mental health.

As said by Dr. Steve Orma, (a CBT clinical psychologist who specializes in treating insomnia, anxiety, and stress), in this great article from the ‘Head space’ website…

“Routine also helps with stress … Create a set schedule for doing chores, work tasks, meetings, exercise, paying bills, and all the usual things you need to do. Put these into your schedule. Once this becomes your normal routine, it’s easier to accomplish everything because it becomes habit.”

So, to give you some insight, this is how my first week of home working went…

Wake up – yoga – breakfast

I have a new-found love of starting the day with some yoga in the time I would usually spend getting ready and commuting to the office – this is my actual ‘wake up’ period where I turn my focus on and set my intentions for the day going forward!

Start my work for the day

I find it really helpful here to have a list of things going on throughout the week, and section that into daily tasks. I especially love having these tasks written down, so I can feel accomplished when scribbling them out once done. Something else that is also very helpful and great to have in these times, is our team meetings. Usually we would meet as a team once a week on a Monday morning to keep everyone up-to-date with what we would all be working on. However, this has been moved to daily catch up calls each morning. This time is great again for all of us to set our intentions on the work we will be doing that day, and to check up on how we are all getting along. I especially love the special appearances from some of our team members children now and then, as many wonderful parents out there are also stepping up to the homeschooling challenge as an extra feat!!

Lunch

I have found that making sure you break away from your work and your laptop for a lunch break really helps the productivity keep flowing throughout the day. While we are at home, it could be easy to have a working lunch and stay at your home desk while you eat, but it’s important to have those little rests so you can come back to your work with a fresh mind. Something I really enjoyed doing in the first week of being at home was going for a short walk before or after we ate. Fresh air is so great and can really help you feel restored and ready for the afternoons work.

Afternoon Work

Back at the computer for the afternoons work, find a time that is comfortable for you to work until – don’t work so late you miss dinner, but also make sure you do enough to feel productive for that day, and get that satisfaction of scribbling off those items on your to-do list. Personally, the afternoons are sometimes harder for me to stay motivated through, but I find having a coffee or snack break when I need to, or going out into the garden for 10 minutes really helps (especially in this sun we are experiencing!)

And relax…

Seeing as going out is not as it once was on the evenings and weekends, I have found myself exploring new hobbies such as drawing and painting, and I’ve finally picked up a book again! Also, seeing as restaurants are closed, and we love eating out in this household, I have been somewhat experimental with cooking these days, seeing what new recipes I can come up with. Now, as the days have gone by – I haven’t always managed to do yoga in the morning, and our afternoon walks to the park have been replaced by sitting in the garden, and sometimes I don’t want to do some fancy hobby in the evening, but simply watch TV and snack.

Why am I saying this?

I feel at the moment there is a theme of being super productive and doing amazing things seeing as we have all of this time at home – however, we are all different. Not everyone wants to paint or read or do yoga. I’m sure some of us are enjoying the simple relaxation time!
Thus, my message would be, if nothing else, make that routine – it could save you from some ‘madness’ of being at home 24/7, but also enjoy the ‘mercy’ of being at home, relax, enjoy, spend time with your family, do those DIY jobs you said you were going to do last year…find what makes you happy in these times, and stick with it.

I saw this GIF online the other day, and I think it sums up perfectly how some people will struggle greatly at this time, whilst others will thrive. Maybe you look at this and you know exactly which you relate too, or maybe you relate to a bit of both, I’m sure we all have days spent as each image below.

What I’m trying to say is, figure out what you like, what you don’t like, and make it work for you – routine or not, its important to look after ourselves at this time mentally and physically.

Let’s be there for each other, share tips and tricks and make sure people know that we are open to help (as long as that help can happen from 6ft. Away…)

Let us know what your quarantine tips are and what’s been working well for you, and together – we’ll be just fine.

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