It seems like everywhere you turn, there is no escaping it. The news, social media, family phone calls, emails, and more – we are surrounded by Coronavirus chatter.
Our office made the transition a few weeks ago to work from home due to the onset of the global pandemic known as COVID-19 (aka “The Rona” – aka “Coronapocalypse”). In the beginning, we all hoped that this would only be a few weeks, but in reality – we may not be back in the office with our co-workers until May or even June!!!
Then it hit me – we can make this work. I am thankful for the luxury that is the internet, our technology, and all the tools that we have at our disposal to stay in touch and work effectively with one another. No one really teaches you how to work from home until actually you do it. So, after three weeks of ‘test and learn’ in my own work from home bubble, here are the things that I found to be helpful in the new normal.
WAKE UP + MAKEUP
Take the time to wake up in the morning. Now that you don’t have the commute that you usually do, give yourself time to enjoy that coffee or a cup of tea without that ‘rush out the door’ feeling. For me, I’ve been making my chai tea latte in the mornings and snuggling with the puppy before getting my day started. Use that time however you would like, but use it. Whether to catch up on the morning news, say good-morning to family or even make yourself breakfast — up to you! Taking that time for yourself goes a long way if you know there’s a long day ahead of you.
Get dressed! Although the idea of working in your pajamas for the next few weeks sounds like a dream come true, there is something about getting dressed that adds to your confidence and productivity. Once you’ve mustered up the energy to get dressed, take it one step further and put on some makeup. Eye shadow and mascara was a game changer for me. I felt like my best self and ready for the day. I know its more work than you want right now — but you will feel great. Try it.
FIND YOUR SPACE
I know that this can be hard, especially if you have little ones at home – but find a work space where you can focus. For some of my coworkers it has been in their kitchen or at the dining room table, their bedrooms next to the window for some light, or in a room where they can shut the door to get some quiet for meetings. For you, its a place that should be comfy, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t change scenery throughout the day.
I am grateful to have a space where I can shut the door and take calls while my mister takes his calls in another room. When I feel the need to move, I usually work from the couch in the living room instead. Tip: If you have headphones – use them for your calls. It helps to focus you. There are many distractions that can take place when you work remotely – this will help. It also keeps your calls from being broadcasted throughout the entire home. 🙂
GET AWAY FROM YOUR DESK
The first few days of work from home, I felt like I needed to eat lunch in front of my screen or else I was going to miss something. The anxiety of someone thinking that I wasn’t working because my status went from ‘active’ to ‘away’ took over my entire being. Once the first week passed…and I realized that we could be in this for the long haul…I started to give myself time away from my screen. What a difference it made. I felt more alert and productive when I re-engaged my work.
Whether you need some down time to read, eat your lunch, do something creative, or check in on people at home – do it. Let your mind relax, watch some TV or listen to music. Give yourself a full break. My suggestion is to block your calendar so you don’t get scheduled for a meeting at that time and L E A V E your work space. You are most likely working longer days now that you are home so make sure you take the time you need for some well deserved self-care.
Finding the time and new ways to continue to connect with my team and co-workers has been fun. The first week of working remotely felt like we were giddy children getting away with not having to go to school. What happens when a day or two turns its multiple weeks in a row? You miss all your colleagues and friends of course. Now what?
Initiate virtual hang outs times that are not dedicated to work. For example, book a virtual lunch time in the middle of the day or virtual happy hour at the end of the week. Set guidelines so that you use the time to connect. Our team rules were:
 No work talk.
 No Coronavirus talk.
This week, we might plan some bursts of Houseparty connects and set themes to some upcoming events to spice it up. (If you don’t have the Houseparty app, you need to download it. Imagine face-time with interactive games! A blast with friends and family!)
GET FRESH AIR
Last but not least, but just as important. Get some fresh air. I know that some areas of the U.S. have shut down parks, trails, bike paths, etc., but get creative. Open a window that you are working by, sit on your front porch, step out into your backyard for a few minutes (or more if you can). For me, having a dog at home really helps. Taking her outside for her duties and letting her sit in the sunshine is a great excuse to get outside.
It may not be the most exciting adventure in the current state of social distancing, but it helps to ease up the stir crazy style of cabin fever that we are all experiencing throughout this time.
I hope that some of my learnings these last few weeks helps someone out there that is trying to find some sense of balance or normalcy in the day-to-day. I understand that not all days are the same and we have to flex and pivot with the changing moments, but we are all in this together. We will be stronger when we come out on the other side.
P.S. I know these pictures of not of me in my home (trust me – I haven’t left the house!) – but it helps to remind me that there is a big, brave, beautiful world out there. Once the world starts to heal – we can all get back to our great adventures. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash those hands friends. xoxox