The art of working from home: a dream for many…or is it?
When I started working for Sei Mani, 4 years ago, that dream came true. I now work full-time at home, so with one child being a teenager and the other in primary school, it made my life easier. It allows me to always be there for my family whenever they need me. But little did I realise there was much more around the corner than having a good internet connection and an ergonomic working space.
I knew I would need to stay focused on my work and not little distractions pull me away throughout the day. Being a self-confessed workaholic, I didn’t have to worry about that too much, but keeping the balance can be tricky when you are so invested in your work.
Working from home, you can slip into working longer hours because, let’s face it, if you are at home it’s so easy to start checking those tasks on your to-do list or pick up where you left off at any time of day and night. It’s important to take time away from your work and focus on what is really important your life. It takes a lot of discipline to make sure you stop on time at the end of your working day to have dinner and unwind with your family, or even to plan activities with friends that you won’t cancel last minute.
Tip: Tidy up your desk at the end of the day and power down your laptop or PC. That way, its harder to have your attention captured by those pesky notifications. If you have a separate office, close the door.
Besides productivity, working from home triggers a feeling of quietness and peace… and mostly it is. But there can be downfalls to this, especially if you like to cocoon yourself away and have a small circle of friends. The temptation to remain at home can quickly sneak in, especially when you have the excuse of “having this deadline”. That doesn’t need to be the case, but you need to actively make sure you participate in activities outside your house.
Collaboration technologies will definitely help you remain connected with your colleagues. Even when your company don’t have a platform, you will find excellent, inexpensive or even free solutions everywhere. How about creating a Slack group for the people you work regularly with, start a Skype or FaceTime chat with a colleague.
At Sei Mani we all work from home, so we extensively use collaboration platforms to keep us connected, sometimes we even start a meeting online to hear others typing, and be able to speak with them spontaneously as we would do in an office, yes really! Occasionally we celebrate with a virtual pub session the end of the week with everyone, which is always great fun.
Having a hobby is another effective way to get out and meet others. Some people enjoy dancing or sports, others join a theatre group, or learn how to forge swords! The possibilities to meet others are endless.
Tip: Start a video chat to check in with other colleagues. If you’re feeling lonely, they most likely are too. Virtual Pubs are a great way to catch up or even celebrate a win from that week.
Think of all the exercise you are getting when commuting to and from the office: walking (sometimes running to catch the train), climbing stairs, slaloming between people in the crowd etc. And often this doesn’t even bring you closer to the golden 10,000 steps per day recommended to remain healthy. When working from home, you could end up only walking to the kitchen or the loo a handful times a day. It is difficult to get physical exercise when you have zero passion for it (I know what I am talking about).
You don’t need a fancy gym, going for a simple walk with friends may be all you need. Or perhaps go Live Action Role Playing: it can be fun, and you will have plenty of exercise. If you have kids, playing twister, hopscotch, jump-rope, or football all count towards activity. I recently installed a step counter on my smartphone which helps me set goals and measures my progress.
Tip: Take a lunchtime walk, not only will it help with your physical health but also take you away from your desk for a while and build up an appetite.
Eating is a big part of working from home, the fridge is just so close! Snacking between meals can easily become a habit when spending your day in front of a screen. And on top of that, those working from home regularly skip meals because you don’t have the social cue of your colleagues heading to the canteen. You just want to finish reading that document, attend an online meeting and answer that urgent email. Before you know it, you will have lunch at 3pm and your metabolism will be working like a broken clock.
Tip: Set yourself an alarm on your phone or a reminder on your calendar to go for lunch each day at a regular time, the routine will help make it part of your schedule.
Remember: It’s never too late to make changes. One step at the time! Feel Inspired? What are your tips for well-being when working from home?
Want to chat more about how technology can support home working? Get in touch or join our Sei Mani Adoption Community on Workplace.