The impact of working from home on those in high pressure careers is extraordinary. It compounds the already existing problems of work/life balance, communication challenges, and worries about efficiency. Below are a few tips to keep you level-headed and productive when working from home, especially during this stressful and uncertain time.
1. Build structure.
To the extent possible, create a structure for your day, defining a time and a place for personal and office tasks. Block time for your own schedule at work, get activities and tasks lined up for your kids, and schedule your home workouts. Part of the discomfort of working from home is the free-flowing uncertainty of when things will get done. If you can build some guardrails around your schedule, you’ll feel more grounded and able to complete the tasks you need to get done.
2. Get creative.
If you live in a small space and struggle to find space and privacy for calls (especially video chats), think about unusual places you could use. If you sit a certain way in the bathtub, does the backsplash just look like the kitchen? If you turn on classical music, can you drown out your partner’s work calls from the bedroom? Can you go audio-only and take your call while walking outside? Often with enough creativity and flexibility, problems find a way of solving themselves.
3. Lower the bar.
Give yourself a break. This is a truly novel and weird situation. Your workouts might suck, your kids may be slacking off on their schoolwork, and dinner options might get a little basic and repetitive. Accept that this is OK. Allow yourself a little space to do things differently and figure out what works, and eventually you’ll come up with a comfortable system. A lot of things are out of your control for now, and you’re just figuring out how to do the best you can in every moment.
4. Change something up.
Ever wondered if you’d be more productive with a standing desk? With constant (healthy) snacks at your disposal? Frequent breaks? Working outside? Now’s your time to try it out! And if you find something that works well, your boss may even notice your increased productivity, and encourage you to continue doing it once you return to the office.
5. Try something new.
You’re stuck at home with no choice but to entertain yourself. It may be time to try out baking, needlepoint, or online board games. There are no excuses now! You may end up finding something you really enjoy. Either way, you’ll exercise a new part of your brain, which will improve your focus when it’s time to get back to work.
How is working from home going for you? Let me know your experiences, and any other tips that have worked for you. And, if you need someone to talk to about managing the pressures of working from home during this unique and stressful time, feel free to get in touch with us — we have some of the best psychologists in Boston who are ready to help.