The eternal struggle for a work-life balance has recently been thrown a curveball. With companies big and small requiring their employees to work from home to slow the spread of COVID-19, just how are we all supposed to maintain a good balance when work and life happen in the same place? When the boundaries between the two blur, it’s tempting to focus on whichever one needs our immediate attention. In addition to the mental energy needed to adapt to this new way of working, the restrictions on movement, entertainment and socializing come with uncertainty and fear, which can also be mentally taxing.
Being a remote worker poses its own set of challenges. Back in the office, you’re used to getting quick answers to questions, and you could always see when people were at their desks. Now, you’re flying solo and sometimes it can feel like you don’t have a lifeline to your boss or team.
So we at Poly came up with a few tips to help reduce anxiety in these stressful times.
Tip 1: Stake Out Your Territory
Maybe you already have a home office, or maybe you’ll be making do with space where you can find it. Ideally, you’ll be able to have one dedicated spot in your home that becomes your workspace – that could be the kitchen table or the armchair in the corner, but try to stick with it. If you don’t have one spot as your ‘office’, then your whole home becomes the office. That just makes it harder to shut down and cross the boundary back into your home life at the end of the day.
Tip 2: Use Quality Equipment
Now clearly we’re biased here, but few things are more frustrating to remote workers than technology that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to or that’s too complicated to be useful. Supplying remote workers with quality communications equipment is our whole thing. We have speakerphones, USB and Bluetooth headsets, and cameras that make sure you have a quality (and easy-to-use) home experience.
Tip 3: Go for a Walk
The more you work at home, the more you realize that you’re not getting much exercise. Remember to take breaks while working. Go for a walk (with your dog if you have one) if you can, or find some simple stretches and exercises you can do from home. Some gyms, although forced to close, have stayed in contact with members by offering daily or weekly at-home routines. Many places are offering workout advice based on the equipment you already have at home. You can find numerous free apps to help guide you along, regardless of what level you’re starting at. Even many paid fitness apps are offering free trials. Whatever you choose, these healthy interludes add up and can contribute to good mental and physical health.
Tip 4: Talk to Co-workers
You’ll probably be on email and IM with your co-workers all day. That’s great, but we all miss having regular social interactions with familiar people. Save some time at the top of group meeting calls to chitchat and see if anyone has discovered any good remote working tips. And, if you have a good work friend that you chat with a lot in the office, don’t just text – call or even video chat about work, or whatever you usually talk about. It’ll give you both a boost and a sense of normality in these abnormal times.
Everyone has coping mechanisms that work for them. By recognizing that this is a different situation that requires a different approach, we can all find ways to take care of ourselves and one another.
Want more about remote working? Visit blogs.poly.com/remote-working.