We’ve all seen them — the Instagram posts. People’s working from home lives popping up left, right and centre. One person doing yoga, another with a perfectly organised desk and another making homemade banana bread with a pristine, home-frothed cappuccino, all while apparently homeschooling two young children and running a successful business and a side hustle to boot, wearing JEANS.
But this isn’t reality. A snapshot into someone else’s life doesn’t reveal the full picture or what they’re going through — and it can make you feel pretty crap thinking everyone else has their shit together while you’re still in yesterday’s (correction: last week’s) PJs and your kids, dogs or cats are running riot around the house.
And those same people are probably looking at your posts thinking: “Wow, I wish my life was like that, what am I doing wrong?” It’s a never-ending cycle of guilt and anxiety that many are trapped in during isolation and social distancing.
Working from home is different for everyone — some people are super motivated and have a highly structured plan of how to survive this quarantine. Others need more time to settle, and find it hard to work at home for a number of factors — to name a few; children, relationships, an unequipped living environment or a difficult family situation.
Some may be struggling with existing mental or physical health problems, with caring duties or separation anxiety from loved ones. Unfortunately, we can’t solve these problems, but we have compiled a few handy tips and tricks to make working from home a bit easier.
- Create a structure to your day. Some refer to this as a ‘scaffold’ — a firm support so you can get on with what you need to do. Write down the main tasks that you need to complete for the day, and investigate working techniques online, to see which technique suits you.
- Create a workspace for yourself if you can, which is away from your main leisure area. This will help maintain the illusion of ‘leaving work at the door’ — but it may be the kitchen door, not the front door. Our CEO, Jake, recommends leaving the house after you have finished work to go for a walk, creating a mock ‘commute’. When you go back through the door, it’s chill time.
- Try to keep to your usual working hours or the amount of hours you usually work, and factor in a lunch break (an unknown concept for many). If you are finding working the usual hours difficult with childcare or caring issues, changing your work schedule may be necessary, if your job allows flexibility.
- If you’re used to working from home — like one of our trustees, Nikki, who runs a media business — having someone else invade your workspace can be challenging. Creating clear boundaries of where you both work, if you’re isolating with other individuals who are working from home, is important.
- Everyone is currently working in a weirder way than they usually would, and in situations they wouldn’t usually find themselves in. So: so what if your three year old runs in the room while you’re on a video call? Or if you accidentally log in to the morning conference wearing a top with coffee spilled down the front. This isn’t a usual working situation, so the usual rules do not apply.
- It’s ok to not be ok during this time. This is an unprecedented and disruptive situation that there was no way to prepare for. Many people are in the same boat, and you are definitely not alone in thinking that you’re failing because you haven’t written a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, or taught your kids to speak fluent French. Remember to celebrate the small victories.
Do you have any working from home tips that you want to share? Anything that you have found particularly helpful during this stressful time? If so, and if you can, share these tips with your friends, family, co-workers and social media followers, as it could help another person who is feeling adrift.
Chasing the Stigma team x