Thriving while Working from Home

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In the past, the idea of working from home may have seemed convenient and comfortable. However, now that we’re living in this new reality, we have to realize that there are some challenges that come with it. Your new work from home set-up may not be as ideal as what you imagined. Adapting to this new environment can seem daunting because of the simultaneous balancing of all your roles in life, such as provider, employee, friend, and kin. The boundaries of your roles may disappear, and this can eventually lead to confusion, exhaustion, and boredom, among other feelings.

Such emotions might lead you to realize that work from home is a totally new ball game and that there are new and unique ways to cope with the challenges it brings, if not use them as opportunities. You may ask yourself: “What can I do to keep my overall well-being intact while working from home?”

When doing remote work, one needs to decide to make these lifestyle changes to increase your efficiency and efficacy.  As the Journal of Oncology puts it, 

“(You have to) recognize that a balanced life is not just going to happen. If change is needed, you are going to have to initiate it.”

While you’re in your homes this quarantine, remembering the acronym HOMES can help you achieve the changes you desire.  

  1. Hone: Expand your knowledge and skills

Working from home can take a while for you to adjust to the online world. Fortunately, the online world provides several platforms for you to adjust and learn new skills inside and outside your field. Online courses can be your first step to adapting to your new work setting.  Now is the time to hone your skills inside and outside of your field.

 Online courses are readily available to help you gain credibility and knowledge by earning certificates from e-learning platforms and prestigious universities.  Many platforms have made their courses free, such as Google, Coursera, Udemy and more. All the courses can also be done at one’s own pace which will come in handy when balancing household tasks and working from home, or when there are just days that you just don’t have the energy for it.  The courses will not be strenuous and will be easily adjusted to your schedule. 

The courses you take can lead you to new business trends that can be applied to your work setting. Google, for example, provides courses regarding digital marketing, Google analytics, online campaigns, and coding — trends that could be applied to your business in adapting to this pandemic. Online courses can be done anywhere, including the comfort of your own home. A bonus that comes with some of the courses would be certification. Gaining certificates can lead you to more job opportunities, and the certificates you earn can help you adapt more quickly to the digital landscape. No prerequisites are needed – all you need is stable internet connection and your electronic device when taking an online course.

Another possible thing to try is a new interest or developing a new hobby. According to the University of Kansas Department of Psychology, “Individuals who engaged in more frequent enjoyable leisure activities had better psychological and physical functioning.” Learning something outside your field can help you work better because of your healthier state. Schooling yourself on other specialties such as history, music, or psychology can also be a leisure activity to  help put one’s self into a better mood during your stay at home.

  1. Organize: Plan your day

Planning your day with the workload that you have can be tricky despite having more free time on your hands. Organizing your activities can thus help you become more productive and aware of what is happening in your day. The University of Wisconsin did a study on scholarly productivity that shows having an organized plan of action such as to-do lists can help you accomplish more tasks in a day and therefore increase your productivity. To-do lists, planners, and online calendars are ways to be more mindful of each event and output you need to plan for the day. 

Backward planning can also be something to consider when planning your day. Know what you want to achieve by the end of the day and then start mapping out the required tasks to accomplish your goals.  Studies show that backward planning can also be helpful in being efficient with your daily duties.

Furthermore, doing your tasks in an orderly manner can also be beneficial, as it can lessen your workload and stress, increase your motivation, and create more time for you to focus on other pursuits, while you check off each task on your to-do list.

  1. Move: Work out

While you may be more inclined to curl up at your home desk or lie down at your couch for long hours. Staying healthy and fit should be prioritized, even when at home.  A simple 15 to30 minute workout can change your mood for the whole day. Research states that exercising for at least 15 minutes can better your mood and prevent depression. It is also important to note that exercise increases productivity and can therefore help you produce quality output when working from home.

Exercise can be also seen as a form of self-care and a way to channel one’s energy other than doing work. In an article by Everyday Health, it is seen that exercise increases your endorphins and can therefore enhance your focus when working from home. Exercise also provides you other health benefits such as an improved cardiovascular health and a better quality of sleep.

Separate yourself from your work area and take time to stretch, move, and work out. Many digital sources may cater to your preferred type of workout. Fitness applications can be helpful to keep your body moving during this quarantine. Fitness programs done by personal trainers can also be watched on social media platforms, such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

  1. Encounter: Mingle and stay connected

Staying at home can make socializing and keeping relationships intact difficult. Catching up with your loved ones can be a solution to help you feel less lonely. Social encounters are not limited to physical meet-ups, as alternative digital platforms are the new avenues to communicate and interact with loved ones. As stated by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, social relationships have long-term and short-term effects on one’s physical and mental health. It is advisable then to keep our relationships intact and active during this time. 

With this being said, working from home should not stop you from keeping in touch and interacting with your loved ones; there are several applications and online platforms that may be helpful in keeping your relationships deep and strong.  Zoom, Facebook, Google Meet are a few popular video conference platforms that one can use to communicate with distant friends and family. Other applications like Discord, Netflix Party and House Party also provide a more engaging and interactive experience when communicating with friends and family.

  1. Self-care: Look after yourself

Employee breaks are a given when you are at a work setting; but this should also be practiced when working from home, as it could be used to your advantage. Catching up with friends is important, but the value of keeping in touch with yourself should be prioritized as well.

People tend to become more engaged in work, especially in the process of trying to adapt to this new work environment. “Hustle culture” is a term used to describe millennials and their goal of exhausting themselves by doing more. The culture is slowly progressing in the work from home environment and people are falling into this cycle. People are more likely to work because of the free time they have now and the pressure of doing more. Kiran Misra, a freelance photographer perfectly puts it:

“It seems like every second that I don’t put toward building a side business, making money from a hobby, or improving myself is in some way a second wasted.”

Consequently, if you let yourself fall into this hustle culture, you might end up forgetting your personal well-being and welfare.

This last lesson should be on top of your priorities because putting yourself first should be of utmost consideration. Self-care may come in many forms such as meditation, reading, setting time away from electronics, working out, and talking with friends. Whatever your self-care method may be, it is essential to look after yourself and listen to your needs. There can be various ways of doing self-care, but as long as you are able to set time for yourself to do something that you love, you are on the right track to enriching your work from home experience.

Visual by Xilina Tankiamco

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