Working from home involves a certain degree of isolation, explains a business consultant. If you live alone, you could go a whole day without seeing or talking to anyone. But, even if this is not the case, you could usually lock yourself in a separate office. Why is it so important? Several types of research show that social contact is key when it comes to our mental and physical health. Interacting with others can also calm and comfort us.
In different studies, controlling for factors such as income, geographic regions, and even genetics, the most important ingredient for long-term happiness appears to be how and how often we connect with other people, Loneliness, especially on a chronic basis, can expose you to depression, frustration, and professional exhaustion.
When you work alone, there is no opportunity to exploit the theory of equity. This is a sociological phenomenon in which individuals measure their performance and sense of belonging against the habits and actions of others. When there are no colleagues around to help you measure your performance, you may develop a constant and annoying feeling that something is wrong.
The good news? If working remotely makes you miserable, there are ways to reverse that frown. And you can start by trying the following.
1- Overcome the detachment
In a pre-COVID world, this wasn’t really a big deal. You could open a shop in your favorite café. You could join a shared workspace or go to work a couple of days a week. Outside of work, you may be socializing with friends or family. I also took time off from work to chat with my neighbor.
While you may be able to do some of the above, it is definitely more difficult to live in a pandemic. If you feel uncomfortable with others or can’t safely practice social distancing, you can still connect with others. Obviously, the most popular way is via video calling using a platform. Whether it’s meeting your team or catching up with a friend, this was a lifesaver. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with picking up the phone and making a call. If you feel isolated, call your best friend or mentor.
2- Establish rituals, routines, and boundaries
When you went to the office every day, you had a routine. This structure made it easier to plan your time. More importantly, it helped you establish the boundaries between work and home. The great thing about working from home is that you can set your schedule based on your productivity peaks and personal obligations.
For example, if you are an early riser, you might wake up earlier than everyone else in the house. While it is quiet and you have the energy, you can work on your most important task of the day. During breaks, you may want to spend time with your family and exercise.
Regardless of how you plan your day, be consistent. And find ways to move from your personal to professional life. It could be something as simple as turning off the computer to change clothes.
3- Create a home “Office” space
I know it’s tempting to work from the comfort of your bed or sofa. But remember, you need a separation between where you do things and relax. As such, for associating with work you need a dedicated space.
Ideally, it should be a quiet place. A bedroom, cellar, garage, or even a wardrobe would be enough. Plus, it should also have the right tools and equipment – think desk, high-speed internet, and whatever else you need to work.
But these are just the basics. Brighten up your workspace with natural light, plants, and colors to match your work. For example, if your work requires a lot of attention, surround yourself with the color blue.
And go ahead and personalize your workspace by including personal items such as photos or memories of a past trip.
4- Get a dose of joy using your breaks
It’s no secret that you can boost productivity with frequent breaks. The key is to use these breaks to rest, recharge, and do something fun.
For me, this is taking my dog for a walk after lunch – san phone. Spending time outdoors has been found repeatedly to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. But you could try anything that makes you happy, like calling a friend, drawing, or dancing.
Working in a home can be a liberating experience, but it can also be dangerous when not properly organized. For this reason, it is of special importance to know your threats before implementing your decision, to act in preparation against these threats, and to take time to plan. A well-organized home office system can become a very good alternative to standard office life.