What do you gain when working from home?

For a large group of people they’ve spent most at least 4 months of the year working from home. They’ve had to adjust and adapt to a new environment whilst still maintaining the same work output that would be delivered in the office.

Despite the difficulties I think everyone gains something working from home. For some people those gains actually outweigh the losses.

The main thing is that you have more control over how you spend your time.

It could be starting early and finishing early or starting and finishing late.

Spending your morning working on personal projects.

Organising your work time to give you a few hours of leisure in the late morning to early afternoon.

Perhaps it’s being able to dress however you want and cook meals instead of just buying something or heating something up in the microwave.

Maybe, you’ve gained more time to spend with the people you love because you no longer have to commute.

As much as it might be difficult, challenging and inconvenient to work from home, it’s worth acknowledging the good bits.

Don’t believe you’re missing out

You’ve probably had the experience of feeling totally fine but as soon as you see or hear about what other people are doing (or have done) suddenly you feel a sense of lack.

It’s like if you spend your Friday night at home watching a movie and painting your nails but the next week everyone is talking about this amazing party they went to saying things like ‘it was so good’ or ‘you should have been there’ you might end up believing it.

That’s an example of the mind almost playing tricks because at the same time we’ve all been somewhere and known that we’d have been just as content (and in some cases happier) staying at home.

I guess sometimes it feels good to do what everyone else is doing, it brings of sense of belonging and as humans that is something we all seek.

But it’s so important to consider how you enjoy spending your time.

If planting flowers, cooking and writing poetry is time well spent for you, it shouldn’t matter what other people are doing.

The last thing you want is to find yourself belonging in a space where you aren’t even being yourself or doing things enjoy simply to avoid ‘missing out‘.

If I had more time…

Have you ever found yourself wishing that you had more time? If so, what circumstance did you think would arise to give you more time?

Was it quitting your job, winning the lottery or an inheritance from a great aunt?

Now that you have more free time than you used to, are you doing all the things you said you would do if you had more time?

Granted a pandemic is not the ideal scenario but there is no denying that you now have the time you once wished for.

In a few months or years things will be back to some kind of normal and you’ll have less free time to be bored. You might even look back on this time and wish you’d taken advantage of the opportunity to do the things you’d been putting off.

Breaking up the day

If you”re working on a laptop from 9-5 and spend your evenings scrolling social media, watching youtube and binging the latest fantasy thriller series, you’ll have spent most of your day staring at a screen.

You aren’t going out to restaurants, going for drinks, visiting museums, catching up with friends in a local cafe or going dancing like you used.

When you’re spending your days staring at a screen, it’s no wonder the days will start to blur into one.

Obviously you can’t eliminate the 8 working hours from your day but being at home means you have some level of flexibility when it comes to how you choose to structure your day.

What are you doing in-between work, emails, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Facebook, Netflix etc?

What are you doing to break up your day?

Now might be the perfect time to find some offline hobbies that you can easily do from home, things that don’t require a screen.

It could be hand embroidery, baking, gardening, reading, drawing, making body butter, mixing essential oils, writing in a notebook or sewing on a machine.

It’s not about ditching your screens but instead acknowledging that you might get more fulfillment from an hour of baking in the afternoon instead of an extra hour on social media.

Making a choice

Right now whilst having to stay inside you might find yourself wondering what the best thing is to do with your time.

There’s too much time to lounge around watching movies and shows but at the same time when was the last time you had this much free time, do you really want to spend it working on something.

The easiest way to decide is to check in with yourself, how do you feel?

Do you feel good lounging around? Do you need something to occupy your mind?

You don’t need to start a project or learn a new language but you could choose to read 50 pages a day, try a new recipe each week or read an article a day on a site like The Conversation or The Atlantic.

 

 

Restructuring your work day

Yesterday, I wrote about replicating work life at home.

But, it’s also worth considering how you work best.

Take advantage of the time you have to experiment with how you structure your day.

Maybe you’ll find that:

You prefer to start at 7am instead of 9am

You’re more productive in the evening than the morning

You feel better when you take a break away from your laptop

You like to vary the hours you work day to day

It might seem pointless to change the way you work for this period of time. However, it is worth remembering that if you give yourself the chance to do things, in a way that suits you more, you’ll probably produce better results

 

Replicating work life at home

For a lot of people they will have reached a point where they have realised working from home just isn’t the same as being in the office.

Because it isn’t.

You might find yourself less focused, less productive and more distracted, especially if you live with other people.

And so it might be helpful to find ways to replicate how you feel at work in your home.

A few ideas are:

Create a suitable working space – Even if it’s just setting up at the dining table each day. Working from the sofa or your bed isn’t a suitable environment because they’re unlikely to places that you associate with work. Also it’s helpful to create some separation so that when you log off for the day you can move to the sofa to relax or tuck yourself into bed and read.

Get dressed – Not into your work clothes but wear something presentable instead if staying in your pyjamas or wearing a worn out pair of joggers.

Follow your usual routine – Whether that’s starting your day with a cup of tea at your desk, a mid morning snack, going through your inbox for the first 30 minutes of the day, having lunch at 1.30pm, whatever it may be.

Finding joy in the things we love

I’ve been writing a little different lately and trying to figure out the best kind of things to share during this time.

My aim is to be relevant but whilst still maintaining my usual style and core themes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about science, history, people and fear. From that I’ve had so many ideas for things to write about and once piece in particular (that is currently just a few words and phrases) has brought me joy.

There’s a thing I do when I write where I put little thoughts and ideas together then try and make some sense out of them. It’s so fun, it’s almost like a game, trying to see how I can fit things together.

Right now I’m having a lot of new thoughts and thinking about things in ways I never have before.

And so even though things are very unexpected and a little challenging, I guess right now I’m just enjoying my writing process.

Now, is the perfect time to find joy in doing the things you love.

 

What we can learn from working from home

Turns out that the 9-5 isn’t as necessary as it once was.

With everything going on in the world meetings are becoming emails or being done by video, travel has come to a halt and working from home may become the non-optional office alternative.

Despite the unfortunate situation that has caused things to change, I can’t help but notice that there is something to learn.

As someone that works in an office less than 50% of what I do requires me to be in the building or to interact with my co-workers.

But I can imagine a time when people used typewriters or even computers that you couldn’t physically take home. Back then, being in your office was necessary to undertake your work.

These days all you need is a laptop and you can use that anywhere.

I’m not championing no longer having an office at all. However, I do think it is worth exploring how often you actually need to be in the company office and the purpose that it serves.

For many it’s the social aspect of going to the kitchen for tea and a catch up with a work pal, it’s meeting people when you’re new to the city, it’s having a space to work for those with limited room at home or those wanting to maintain separation between work and life.

Having an office to go to isn’t necessary for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week but it does come with benefits.

It introduces us to new people, gives us a routine and gives us the opportunity to be part of a culture.

What exactly is life changing?

Life changing can be as simple as staying in bed for an extra 20 minutes or getting up on the first alarm.

When you think of life changing, what comes to mind?

We often get caught up in thinking for something to be life changing it has to be grand and spectacular. Travelling for 3 months, moving to a new city, quitting your job, winning the lottery etc.

But on the small scale we do life changing things everyday. Something like giving change to to a homeless man. You walk by, stop, find some money, hand it to him and then maybe smile and he’ll respond thanks or god bless (well the ones I see do anyway).

That small interaction could change your life but it could also change his.

Everything that we do has the power to change the trajectory of our lives.

You could attend an event and meet your new best friend, the love of your life (or the next few years), meet someone that offers you a job, learn something new or be inspired to start a new project.

On the other hand, you could stay at home.