Working from home
The current situation (I almost don’t dare to use “the c-word” anymore) is very demanding and requires us to change our habits and routines dramatically. The government is asking to practice social distancing, our favorite restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, etc. are closed and most companies are closing the office and send their employees to work from home. Many of us may work from home anyways, but the majority of people around us are not used to work from. Especially not when all of a sudden the entire family is at home. The kitchen table and the dining table are transformed into desks and shared amongst partners, while children want to play, learn and meet their friends. Others live in shared apartments, due to the high use of online services the internet crashes every hour. While some of us are like Kevin “home alone”. Nobody really knows how long this situation is going to last and we all have to deal with it somehow. In the last couple of days, I had the opportunity to talk to many people who are working from home currently and I asked them for their best strategies. In this article, I want to share a collection of the best insights.
Having a morning routine is always a good idea, but in these uncertain times, it has become my anchor, and allows me to check-in with my essence and therefore gives me a feeling of comfort and security. Get up early. Even if your first call is only at 09:00, get up early, get out of bed, shower, and put on some “real” clothes. Don’ get me wrong, I also love to hang out working in my pajamas all day, and there is nothing wrong with that (from time to time). You just should not do that every day for a longer period.
Start your morning with some hot ginger tea to boost your immune system. Every one of us is different and there is no “one-to-fit-all-solution” but ideally, you take some time in the morning for yourself to set your intention for the day. Do some physical movement, dance to your favorite song, sing, do some push-ups to get out of your head back into your body. Then sit down for a couple of minutes and meditate. Start with focusing on your breath and then start your preferred meditation technique. There are thousands of guided meditations out there, just use the one that resonates the most with you. My teacher has created a great online platform (the practice online) with yoga and meditation practices. When you feel connected and recharged set an intention for your day. Make a small plan for your day, listing your appointments (calls), schedule in some breaks and think about something you can do in the evening that you are really looking forward to.
In the current situation, you will probably spend most of your time within the same four walls. You almost have no time to transition physically and mentally from one activity to another. On a normal working day, you would pack your back and then take a shorter or longer trip to your office. This transition time can be really important for some of us and somehow gets lost when you sleep, eat and work at the same place. A client shared one of her creative strategies to conquer this problem. Every evening when she finishes work she packs up her stuff and puts it into her backpack. The next day after her morning ritual and breakfast she takes her bag and starts her working day by setting up her working space. Sometimes she even takes her backpack and goes for a little walk in her neighborhood. I have already seen the most creative inventions to set-up a standing desk at home to allow some variety. It’s definitely useful to link activities to a specific space within your home. The bedroom is for sleeping and should be a space of peace, relaxation, and intimacy. What are the qualities you would like to manifest in the different rooms of your home? The kitchen should be a place of pleasure, taste, and creativity. Find the best space in your home where you would like to work and invite qualities of clarity, focus, and inspiration. I’m not a Fengshui expert but I love Marie Diamond and her approach of setting an intention for the purpose of different rooms. I am investing in fresh flowers on a regular basis because I want to surround myself with beauty throughout the day. Maybe now is also the perfect time to use some of your free time to do a proper Marie Kondo like spring cleaning. Whatever it is that you need, I can only encourage you to look at your home from a new perspective. Consciously think about which changes need to be done to allow your home to accommodate all your needs.
Working from home can easily seduce us to work even more than usual without even noticing it. Sometimes I catch myself checking and responding to emails late in the evening. We just have to be more careful and plan regular breaks. It’s so important to leave your desk between the hours of online calls and a lot of screen work. Go for a walk in a park or forest close by (don’t forget to keep at least 1,5-2 meters distance to other people doing the same). Make an effort to plan a proper lunch break and use this incredible opportunity to cook your favorite meals during the day. Believe me, I’m not the best chef but I really enjoy being forced to cook every day with my partner. A good friend of mine Brit who is a genius in the kitchen is sharing the tastiest recipes on her Insta Account and is sharing her creativity to stay healthy and nourished. Use your breaks to virtually connect with your friends and your community and stay in touch during this difficult time. We are social beings and our wellbeing is highly dependent on our social network. Sharing our thoughts, worries, dreams and daily routines with each other is really important to stay healthy. Use the technological tools available to meet your friends in the evening for a workout. The amount of online workout and yoga services spring up like mushrooms. I was shocked when I checked my movement profile after the first week of Quarantine. On average I didn’t even walk the regular 10K steps per day.
What was even more shocking… my screen time report. The average screen time increased by 30%, plus the rising number of video calls, hours on the phone with family and friends, in front of the watching the News and Netflix! Jeeez! That’s intense. It’s really important to be informed and to stay connected but in the first week of Quarantine, my anxiety level increased every time I was watching the news. At this point, I decided to limit the amount of News time to a maximum of 15 minutes per day in the early afternoon. I can’t take it in the morning and also not too late in the evening. I also limit the time social media and all other channels to not overstimulate my system. I also got some Blue-light-filters which I can highly recommend. The blue light which is emitted from screens is disturbing the pineal gland which is responsible for the production of melatonin (sleeping hormone). If the production of melatonin is distracted we can easily suffer from insomnia and have trouble finding a good night’s rest. To support my sleep I try to have no scree light after 21:00 and grab an old fashioned book.
I am really curious to learn more about your life hacks for home office times. Please feel free to get in touch with me and share your best practices. I would definitely love to work on an update of this article as we will most likely be at home for a little longer! Until then stay safe and healthy!