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Working From A Box During A Pandemic

We all have been trying to manage our lives amidst a pandemic for more than a year now. To a certain extent, everyone is in the same boat, but the situation is unique for each individual. Everyone is experiencing different struggles. 

Whether you’re at home alone or you’re at home with your family along with the kids, you may find it difficult to maintain productivity and tough to stay on task. Fortunately, the following strategies can help you stay motivated when you work from home.

Setting boundaries between work and personal space:

  • Designate a set workstation at home
  • Maintain regular work hours, i.e. working the same timings nearly every day so that a routine is formulated.
  • Changing in and out of work clothes as you transition from work to family or personal time

Setting up the disruption boundaries:

  • Communicating to your family what disturbances are okay or not okay during the designated work timings.
  • Communicating the present living situation details to respective office heads for work flexibility.
  • Setting up the timing of using social media or indulging in personal tasks while you work.
  • Timing breaks and mimicking schedules that were there before the pandemic. For example, 10-minute breaks, lunch breaks, snack breaks, similar to the offline working office hours.

With the increased intrusion of work into the personal time fragments, it is very crucial to minimise the creeping of work-life into the personal life. Some measures can be adopted to reduce the same:

  • Having set work hours and not working extra hours if not required.
  • Pre-planning family time, whether it is going to be midweek or weekend.
  • Looking out for the signs of burnout that include- lack of motivation to work, decreased productivity, increased stress and anxiety, feeling tired most of the time etc.
  • Taking the necessary sick days off and maintaining wellbeing during these testing times.
  • Finishing work with a routine and maintaining that routine. Routines are the signals to your brain that you are shifting from work time to personal time.
  • Working maximum at your peak productivity period, then gradually slowing down before winding up to prevent burnout. This will help you do the maximum work without feeling too tired at the end of the day.
  •  Working strategically i.e. Pre-planning work projects through chunking and maintaining To-do lists.

Communicating work-life boundaries to colleagues:

  • What times they can easily communicate about work.
  • On which days you won’t be checking your messages or emails immediately.
  • Ways to contact you for a work-related emergency
  • Respecting others' work-life boundaries too.

Work from home also deprives the individuals of the social aspect of a workspace that was happening before the pandemic. Things like vicarious learning, constant support from peers and officials, peer teaching, social recognition, and the good experience of a shared community are missing in the work from home life. 

To address this issue of social well-being, opt for:

  • Communicating and learning with peers during work hours for a better understanding of work and projects. This could include discussing work projects, difficulties, tips, and also deadlines.
  • Attending meetings, openly communicating, offering feedback, and alternative solutions towards the problems.
  • Being there for each other during times of need and also organising weekend zoom meetups for 30 mins. It will keep the social life active.

Addressing the mental health aspects of working from home prevents further biological or physical tension in the form of fatigue, anxiety, disorientation while promoting positive psychological health.

What you can do for yourself :

  • Keep challenging yourself with new tasks. This will prevent things from turning into monotony and also help you discover new things about yourself and your abilities
  • Reward yourself often-Tell yourself that you can have a cup of your favourite tea or coffee as soon as you finish the deadline. Little rewards can often go a long way toward helping you maintain that motivation level.
  • Practice self-care and a good diet: You will never be at your best if you always feel exhausted and running on caffeine. There is a need for a healthy diet, plenty of rest, and good self-care strategies to be done. Take a step back every once in a while, unwind and ask yourself what else you can do to better take care of yourself and your body. As the stress level increases, your self-care should increase right alongside it.
  • Unwind after the day -Help yourself fully relax after a hectic day of digital usage. Move to a space where there are no screens and try to relax your eyes and mind. Spend time with your family or go for a stroll. 

Working from home can be challenging and cause distress even in the best of circumstances. Be willing to cut yourself a little slack if your productivity is hampered. For better or for worse, working from home is the new normal. While these changes are very difficult to take in, it is the sole way to function productively. With the strategies mentioned above, one can keep a check on the effective functioning stress levels while also making the most of the work. Your mental health matters as much as your physical health. You can take the HappiLIFE screening to know more about your stress levels and can relax and unwind after a hectic day by doing some mindfulness meditation through HappiApp.