How To Navigate Working From Home

By ena ganguly

For those of us who are working from home, it can be a lot to stay up to date with deadlines, assigned tasks and projects — while sitting in bed. We may still be feeling the pressure of work, only difference now is, it’s seeping into our homes and mixing in with all these other stressors that are new to us at this time, like food shortage, managing compromised immune systems, and taking care of our loved ones, including our children and elders. 

Here are some tips on managing a work from home lifestyle that may help you and others:

Designate a workplace

If you have the capacity and space, designate a space in your home where you can focus on all things work. If this is in your bed sometimes, that’s okay. If you need to be in your pajamas for one of your work days, that’s okay too. The point is to have a routine to normally rely on that makes you feel supported enough to do the work you need to on most days. This may look like getting up at a certain time, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, and making a cup of chai or coffee to get ready for a few hours of working. Having a desk or table to work at is ideal, however, even working on the floor, on a yoga mat, or on a couch or chair is fine, if that allows you to feel comfortable and stay focused.

 Personally, I know it helps me to move around my apartment so I don’t get bored, or associate one place in the apartment with ‘work’. Some days, I work at my desk and other days I work at the couch. It gives me a chance to keep things fresh! I decide on what days to work where depending on how much focus I need. If I need to really focus or if I’m on a lot of meetings that day, I’ll take my work to my desk. If I want to be close to my partner, or feel like I don’t be super duper ultra focused during every minute of work, I’ll be on the couch where my partner may be watching something or playing a video game. The beauty of both my working places is that I get a little bit of sunshine, which keeps my spirits lifted and grounded. Find some work places that serve your needs, and it doesn’t have to be the same each time. Listen to your gut! To each their own!

Take breaks

Taking breaks during your work day is so important. It may feel like our supervisors or place of work is expecting us to work even more, and be even more productive, since we have the convenience of being at home, but this isn’t true! We know that it can be super hard to work from home, since some of us have kids to take care of, our elders need more support, and our loved ones may be immunocompromised. Moreover, we are living through a pandemic! We are being met with new challenges daily. Even going outside to take a walk or go shopping for basic necessities may be a chore for some of us. And some of us, or our loved ones, are out of paid work. 

Now more than ever, we need to prioritize our well being. Taking breaks to take a nap, watch television, eat a snack, cook or clean up may be ways for us to feel better and lift us up throughout the work day. Take the necessary time to be in community with your loved ones too, whether that’s virtually or whether it’s in person with those you are isolating with. Even the idea of an impromptu dance party makes me feel full with joy.

Draw boundaries with your work times

Now that we are working from home, it’s easier for our work – life balance to be thrown off. Take some time to go over some necessary measures you must take to ensure that your work life isn’t intruding into your personal life. This may look like taking your work email off of your phone and deliberately logging off at a certain time every day from your work device to avoid checking emails or responding to colleagues. Or you may have to let your coworkers/boss/colleagues know that they cannot text or call you after hours for anything that isn’t extremely time sensitive and urgent.

This may be scary for some of us to do, especially those who aren’t comfortable with confrontation or aren’t used to communicating their needs, so perhaps you can reach out to someone who is more comfortable with those types of conversations for advice on how you can handle these situations. Remember that you are not alone in this struggle, and you can always ask for support when you need it.

For those of us who are working from home, what are some tips and tricks you’ve learned that you would like to pass on to others? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@allgoqpoc)! 

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