How to keep your sanity while working remotely
Millions of people shifted from working at an office to working from home at the beginning of 2020. At first, it appeared to be temporary. Now, it seems it will last a couple of years, and perhaps indefinitely for some people.
The world of work has changed, and working remotely is here to stay.
If you had asked the typical office worker in 2019 if they’d enjoy working from home, most would say, “Absolutely!” But we now know that there are challenges to working remotely, too.
Here are some ways to keep your sanity while away from the office.
Partition your space
Most people never planned for a home office, so they work in a room designed for something completely different. Maybe it’s a bedroom, the family room, or even the kitchen.
These aren’t ideal places to work unless you make some adjustments. Ideally, you can find a place that says, “This is a workspace.” Sure, it will have a homey feel, but it will be partitioned in a way to separate it from the rest of the house.
One way to do this is to buy an office desk rather than sitting at a table that you also use for dinner. An office desk gives your space of sense of work. It also provides ergonomic benefits, such as a keyboard drawer to keep your hands at the right level.
You can also create a physical partition between you and your home life. While most people hate office cubicles, it might make sense to buy one for your home. Amazon sells dividers starting at a couple of hundred dollars. You can even make your own using stuff you have around your home, such as a suspension shower rod and a shower curtain, or by throwing a sheet over an art easel. You can take it down at the end of your workday if it’s temporary. Your partition doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will create some physical separation.
Partitioning your space will help you concentrate during work hours. Perhaps more importantly, it creates a space for work and a space for living. Keeping a separation in your mind between “I’m at work” and “I’m at home” is critical to keeping your sanity.
Set a schedule
A big challenge of working from home is distractions. It’s so easy to plop down in front of the TV or do the laundry. If you have kids or a partner at home, they might not respect your workspace (even when it’s partitioned!).
This is why it’s essential to set a schedule with your kids and your partner. Create a calendar that explains when you are on work time and when you are on home time. Explain that they shouldn’t interrupt you during work time unless it’s an emergency.
If your kids aren’t old enough to follow a schedule, then it’s even more important to set a schedule with your partner. This should include who will take care of your child’s requests during work hours.
Find ways for in-person connections
We all long for in-person connections. These connections take a bit more effort if your company hasn’t reopened its offices yet.
One way to do this is to organize a meet-up with your co-workers. Depending on your comfort level, you can schedule a dinner out or a socially-distanced meet-up in the park.
And if you’d rather not spend more hours of your day talking about work, find a social group in your area.
Set aside time for self-care
Even if you create a partitioned space and separate your work and personal life, it’s a challenge to work in the same building that you sleep in. That’s why it’s critical to schedule time for self-care.
Self-care can mean different things to different people. Maybe it’s scheduling an hour to do yoga or quiet time to read. Maybe it’s taking time to veg out in front of the TV after your workday ends.
Adding self-care to your calendar will make sure you don’t overlook this important part of keeping your sanity.
Appreciate the benefits
A few years from now, when you’re stuck in an office longing to go home, you might wonder why you ever wished you weren’t stuck working remotely. There are so many benefits to remote work, so take a moment every day to think about one thing you appreciate about it.
Certainly, you enjoy not being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic twice a day! Maybe you treasure that extra time with your kid. Or how you can wait until later in the day to shower because you aren’t physically around people. That wonderful 30-minute mid-day walk when the sun is shining.
As stressful as remote work might make you, there are many benefits. Take time to appreciate them.
Hopefully, these five suggestions will help you keep your sanity while working from home. While times are challenging right now, there are so many things to appreciate. Breath in and enjoy the moment.
If you’re not working remotely yet, why not consider starting your own remote business? We have 20 ideas that can get you started today!