The benefits of working from home
Working from home benefits: are you making the most of them?
While it may have seemed a year ago that everyone was working from home, that wasn’t the case.1 Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with its required social distancing and stay-at-home mandates, remote working was increasing in popularity but it certainly wasn’t the ‘new normal’ it is accepted to be now. Certain job sectors, such as start-ups and technology firms, allowed working from home and listed it as a perk. Some companies have entire remote teams, with work-from-home intentionally built into their culture.
Change is often challenging to begin with. If working from home is new for you, you may find it challenging but quite rewarding. It’s important to emphasize that whether you live alone or suddenly have your children home from school, there will be an adjustment period as you transition to working efficiently from home.
Working from home and productivity
It’s important to separate your work life from your home life, as working from home and productivity do not easily go hand-in-hand if you are not set up for it. Create specific zones or spaces for work. If you do not have to worry about childcare or if your children are more independent, find a spot in your home that is separate from your living or sleeping space.
If you do have to participate in childcare (or do it all alone!), try to set up a workspace slightly removed from play or relaxation areas, such as a small desk in a corner of the dining room, rather than the living room.
Have specific working hours and turn off notifications for work-related communication after those hours. During your work hours, work efficiently and intensely (no lurking on social media or news pages!), and respect your time off. Talk with your team about how you will prioritize work, but not overwork.
Struggling? Try to focus on the working from home benefits
Working from home is not for everyone but as we’ve seen in recent times, we may not necessarily have the choice. Without a commute, you are going to have a lot more time with your spouse, children or roommate (or yourself, if you live alone).
Embrace this time—it is a treasure and there really are a number of working from home benefits! Without a commute in the morning, you can linger longer over breakfast, or perhaps take time out to meditate or read a chapter of a book before you start your day.
Hopefully you’ll be able to use your lunch break to also detach from work and spend time with your loved ones. And not having a commute home in the afternoon means you can spend that time having dinner with your family and going on an evening walk. Take time for special things you wouldn’t normally do, like eating lunch outside with your family.
Get dressed, brush your teeth, make your bed. The point is, get up and get ready in the morning to start your day. This helps you transition into a work mindset. It prepares your mind for a workday. It also helps you respect your non-working time.
The importance of breaks
A study found that working from home can make it difficult to relax outside of working hours if you don’t allow yourself adequate personal time and space.2 Take hourly breaks. Just like you should be doing at the office, stand up from your desk, walk around, stretch and disconnect from work for just a few moments. This provides a short mental break but also gets your blood flowing and your body better oxygenated.
If you have children you have to take care of while working at home, experiment with a schedule that coincides with their learning or play time.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to really encourage independent play in younger children.
If more intensive childcare is necessary, talk with your work team about flexible hours. Build a quiet time or nap into your children’s days and really focus on work then. Perhaps a few hours before your children are awake in the morning could be a time to do work that takes your full attention.
It’s ok to ask for help
We never know what life is going to throw at us so it’s important to be kind to ourselves and get support if we need it. Challenging times can cause extra stress. Although you may be physically apart from people, just remember, you’re not alone and technology has made it even easier to stay connected—whether it’s for work or social purposes!