Sometimes a cliché is the best way to capture a moment: Folks, we are living in interesting times.
Ever since our provincial and federal governments began limiting workplaces from remaining open if they couldn’t ensure that employees would be able to maintain a physical distance of two metres, I’ve been thinking about those people for whom working from home is a new and strange circumstance. If you’re one of those people, you’ve had to figure out how to connect to your work files, your colleagues, and your clients.
Needless to say, any workplace that was already working in the cloud is going to be able to manage that transition much more easily.
For people who feel best working around others, or who feel best when they’re able to work outside the home, a work-from-home order can be tough to handle.
I’m not one of those people. I’m a work-from-home ninja. I thrive in a low distraction environment. My productivity is amplified by the fact that I don’t have to shift gears to deal with a commute to and from work. My creativity is energized by the fact that I can step outside, do a hands-on task at home, or go shopping mid-morning on a Wednesday, if I need to. The flexibility of working from home means that I end up logging more hours some days and working more efficiently every day.
So, I totally thought I had this COVID-19 work-from-home situation covered.
What came as a surprise to me is how disruptive having my family working from home would be. Ok, obviously I’ve been in la-la-land. I figured that all I’d need to do is close my office door, and everything would just work out beautifully. Well, that didn’t quite work out at first.
My reality is that my husband, my daughter, and I share an office space. Two of us have laptops, so we can move around. The biggest shock for me is the job stress we all carry and that can now occupy this poor, little office of ours. Before COVID-19 and all the changes it has wrought, I worked alone at home. By the time the rest of my family came home, I was mentally prepared to talk about how the day went for each of us. Now, we talk about the highs and lows all day long.
The lesson we’ve learned is that boundaries are more important than ever. Each of us needs to make an extra effort to ensure that we work on our own until lunch and dinner. That’s when we come together and share our progress. Here we are a few weeks into this situation and this experiment seems to have smoothed out.
Here’s what has worked best for me and my family.
- Guard your work time.
- Work in separate areas of your home.
- Don’t engage in conversations when you should be focussed on work.
- Come together for lunch and dinner.
- Take some breaks and have fun together.
Over to you: How are you coping during these COVID-19 restrictions?