It’s all the world can speak about – COVID-19, coronavirus. We are currently living in a global pandemic that will forever change the way we work, our economic system and our values. It already has – the shutdown of the economy and our lives transforming on every possible level over a matter of days is bound to wreak havoc on our mental health and general well-being.
If you’re not in the first lines of the battle like our underrated heroes (doctors, cashiers, sanitation workers) who unfortunately don’t have the luxury of home based work but are keeping the world afloat as we speak (again, the rest of us don’t deserve you), chances are you’ve been already been forced into transition.
Home based work – from temporary transition to an undeniable future
Whether you’re a corporate worker, a CEO or anyone in the white collar area, I’m sure you’ve already noticed that, as we speak, the current conditions are completely reinventing our work landscape - how we work, why we do it and when we do it. We are moving towards home based work for the long-term – teachers are now live-streaming or organizing classes via Zoom, coaches and trainers are doing webinars and specialists from an areal of industries coordinate their efforts via video software and organizational tools.
Companies are forced to restructure and adapt or perish. If, before this, they told you your work couldn’t be done from home, with small exceptions, most of which I’ve named above (cashiers, doctors etc.), they were wrong. Digitalization, adaptability, flexibility and automation have become necessities, not commodities or simple buzzwords. Soon enough, they’ll also become assets for companies and individuals alike. Soon enough, they’ll also become the norm to survive in a global economy and global labor culture whose flaws have only been exposed and exacerbated by the current crisis, but in no way created.
I’ve been working from home for over 2 years now as a content marketer and, not only can it be done, especially in our line of work, but it also has certain perks. While you might not be able to reap all the benefits during a time of crisis and turbulence, if you’re already in the process of transitioning to home based work and you’re trying to stay productive, there are steps you can take. I hope the following tips will help you in the long-run, too, after remote work will be (hopefully) made widely available and implemented in most industries:
Home based work tips to keep yourself sane
#1 Don’t pretend that the outside world isn’t happening
With everything that’s going on, work is perhaps the last thing on your mind right now and understandably so. However, denial won’t make you productive, choosing to ignore the news or the body-count or the economic implications or just how critical and permanent everything feels won’t magically make you more focused. Instead, don’t completely block it all out – allow yourself time to process what is happening, to grieve even. See an online counselor when it gets too much, and try, to the best of your ability, to channel that negative energy into a different direction, perhaps a creative one – these unfortunate circumstances ARE forcing us to adapt and most creative ideas/inventions, most of the progress we made as humanity was when trying to solve pressing issues or in times of need.
Now, more than ever, you might look at that work dilemma from a different angle and find an innovative solution that might have otherwise never come to you. Now, more than ever, you might find a different approach to an activity that only seemed do-able in an office space. Now, more than ever, you might beat micromanagement and find ways to collaborate with your co-workers via a screen and nothing else, which will prove effective in the long-run, helping you save time and cut costs.
#2 Focus on what you CAN control
You can’t control an economic collapse that may or may not be imminent. You can’t control an invisible enemy, such as a virus. But, just like our immune system is constantly on guard, even when there’s no immediate danger, so should you be. What you work on today, whether it’s a presentation, an editorial, an online course, a project, organizing a Zoom meeting – these are things you CAN control. Take them on one day at a time and always remember that your work is still something that is within your hands and if everyone maintains the same mindset, you can still make an impact and obtain results that matter.
#3 Be patient and understanding with yourself
Especially if you have anxiety/high stress levels or if you’re an empath because you will be extra susceptible to outside stimuli. We are living a worldwide shock and if you have a history of mental health issues, it’ll affect you more than most. Translated into a work context, that means you’ll find it harder to focus, need more breaks, feel like you’re doing a sub-par job or delivering a lower quality level regardless of how much you’re urging yourself to be a perfectionist. You might not reach your full potential but don’t berate yourself for it – do the best you can with what you have.
It’s hard, almost impossible to reach the same potential you would in a stress-free environment. Even if you avoid the media altogether, someone with anxiety or someone with a high level of empathy will still take on the general energy and state of the people around them and the world as a whole. And even if you’re not part of these categories, even if you’ve never had mental health issues before, a quarantine and a worldwide shutdown are contexts that will shake even the toughest individuals.
It will put you on edge, you might become irritable, agitated, suffer from insomnia or have fewer moments where you’re truly in the zone to work so be extra patient with yourself – split your work into smaller chunks that you can deal with, take regular breaks and don’t ask too much from yourself if you simply can’t do it all – this is not a regular context, and you won’t be working as a “regular you” no matter how hard you push yourself.
#4 Find something that makes you happy, nothing is too small
In order to still be productive and be successful in your daily work, you need to find something that gives you a semblance of hope in these turbulent days. Allow yourself a healthy dose of “me” time - whether that’s an exercise break, strumming a few chords, spending some time with your loved ones in between assignments, make sure you give yourself time to recharge. Isolation and social distancing is not just changing our perspective on the world, it’s also reinventing our values, changing our perspective on what is important, thus also boosting creative potential. You might also find time for a new hobby or pick up on one you’ve been long neglecting such as singing, exercising or even starting a Youtube channel.
Don’t forget that, while a dose of stress can boost creativity, too much can wreak havoc on it – finding the balance is key.
#5 Re-organize your work
If you’ve never worked from home before, the quarantine has obviously forced you to reinvent your space (protip – try to move your new home office as close to a window and a natural light source as possible). Along with that, it is also forcing you to re-organize the manner in which you work so that you can meet deadlines and stay connected and synchronized with your team. If you’re no longer at the office, get familiar with software that is going to bridge the gap and organize everything better.
My recommendations are Zoom and Skype for video conferences and team meetings and Trello, Google Drive and Smartsheet for files and task sharing. Make them your best friends – well, aside from your pet who is probably wondering why you’re suddenly home so much.
With some effort and patience, you can make the transition to home based work or, if you’ve already worked from home as a freelancer, find your focus even during crisis. We all wished the conditions were different right now, but I hope my tips have helped you, even a tiny bit.
I wish you all nothing but good health and success in your activity.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
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