Transitioning from working in an office or field setting to working from home will raise many challenges for you and lots of new opportunities, if you decide to see the positives as well as the difficulties. You’ve no doubt read countless articles and blogs about working from home since it has become the new normal for workers around the world who are able to do their jobs remotely. I’ll try to offer some different ideas here, perhaps new ways to think and consider this time. I hope it gives you something new to think about!
Replace the mini opportunities
There are many mini opportunities our bodies miss when we work from home. Things like getting up to walk to the printer, coffee pot, water cooler, bathroom, conference room... think about it, you were probably standing and sitting and moving a great deal in these mini ways. This includes little things at your desk, too – did you reach down or up to grab files or reach over to a ringing phone? Your workstation set up may have been stretching you in little ways that added up throughout the day. It’s important to replace these mini opportunities with things you can do at home. It adds up when your bathroom and kitchen are only a few paces away from your office!
Do you listen to music in the car or on public transportation during your commute? If so, consider replacing that with music at home. Create a playlist or Spotify/Pandora station of your favorites and set a few minutes each day to relax with music you love. Maybe it’s over lunch or during part of your workday where you are not on calls.
Try different types of music at different times. I love jazz in the mornings (especially rainy, foggy mornings!), classical late at night, and maybe something more uplifting during the height of the workday (for me, it’s Morphine, today’s hits, or something from the 90s, Britney anyone?). Whatever gets you going, and since you’re in control in your home office feel free to change it up often! Great time to explore new music.
Zoom and camera tips
Lots of us downloaded Zoom this past week, in fact per Forbes, Zoom reported a 1270% increase in downloads from February 22 to March 22, for a total of 17.2 million users worldwide. If you’re turning on your camera you may also want to think about a few things.
· Your clothing choice makes a difference. Some patterns can jump and repeat on camera, like stripes, chevrons, or houndstooth. I like bright colors on top – this can help make you stand out in a large group meeting and can make your other features pop on camera. A bright tie or piece of jewelry is a good choice.
· Experiment with camera placement. Think about angles, lighting, and background. Simplify what appears behind you and consider finding a place in your home with nice natural light to be your “camera corner”.
· Consider your gestures and facial expressions. Depending on your and other’s connections, there could be a pause or slight delay between video feeds. You may want to modify your style from your usual in-person use of gestures, knowing it may come across differently on camera.
Find the people
Safely, of course! Try video calls with your family and friends. Lots of social groups and professional organizations are offering video happy hours or coffee talks. Try some! This is helpful to do before you feel isolated, just to get ahead of it. Depending where you fall on the introversion/extroversion continuum, this will happen at varying times! Use social media to check in on others and respond to conversations engaging with your network.
You’ve probably heard you should stick to your routine of showering, dressing, fixing hair and make-up, and I think it’s even more important is stay with your sleep schedule. It can be tempting to get up later and stay up later without a commute to eat away some time. But your body needs routine and rest. There are other things you can do with the extra commute time instead of sleeping later. It will make you feel better to get up and be active.