Hero image courtesy of Aurélia Durand Illustrator.
During the Stay at Home orders in many states, jobs converted to working remotely. A better way to look at it is work relocated. Remote often has the connotation that it is isolated and contained. Relocation has the ring to it that it makes it seem as if you have a new place and a new assignment. In this article, we will discuss the following ways to adjust to working at home:
The best way to cultivate productivity is to make the home less distracting, continue your workplace routine if possible, and make the ambience of the home conducive to work. Kate Labriola, Assistant Director of Career Development at Chatham University, encourages her students to prepare for work by continuing to get dressed as if going to work physically to signal to the mind that you are in work mode.
Aestheticize your environment. In the same way, when you move into a new office, bring your motivational posters, your succulent to show greenery, colorful books, and family pictures, bring that same energy to making your house a beautiful place for work. Psychology Today recommends that you make an effort in creating home ambience for work. They recommend moderate noise levels, non-commercial radio and playlists are best, designate a space and time for bursts of productivity, and add curved decor is proven to feel like a circle of calm during work.
Ask what your work can do for you while you are working from home. The onslaught of media coverage, curfews, and recent instances of police brutality affect work from home more than just COVID. There are some things that you are in control of and that is you--make sure to take breaks, eat and stay hydrated, and take care of your mental health. For People Of Color (POC) or employers of POC make sure to understand how to balance workplace professionalism with the responsibility to your own mental health. Therefore, make sure that the home is a refuge of healing and comfort at this time and it is okay to withdraw from too much participation in work and ask your bosses to extend courtesy to you at this time.
While you may be focused on the drawbacks at the moment, there are many positives of working from home. The workplace stress, certain coworkers, pressure from your boss looking over your shoulder, and the physical environment of the office may be a place of trauma or trigger for anxiety. Working from home dodged that bullet, as well as providing the comfort of a familiar environment. Additionally, it is often more aesthetically appealing and ergonomically compatible to suit your needs.
The home is a safe zone from workplace trauma so treat it as such. For instance, you have the opportunity to do more individually-led work. You are the salt and light in your own workplace. It is a great privilege that you can use this time to customize your work experience to suit you.
Odetta Clarke, Contracts and Grants Officer at University of Miami, successfully works from home while having a young one at home. Clarke says, “I find working at home challenging and rewarding. I get to tend to my home and family a bit more as I go throughout my work day in ways that I could not have done at the office.” In the new routine she found ways to adapt and repurpose her new setting to work for her. She traded in her work heels for Adidas sneakers, began involving herself in a weekly faith-based Married Connect Group Zoom meetings, growing cilantro and marigolds in her house, and mandating bath times for herself and the baby to start and end the day with a clean slate.
Spencer Stultz, a creative business professional and owner of the company Whimsical Black Girl and From the HeART Foundation, creates a new routine for herself. Whimsical Black Girl is a platform to sell her art in a variety of ways that supports the mental health and creative impulse of people. During COVID, she has shifted to selling more puzzles for people to complete, along with t-shirts and other merchandise. From the HeART Foundation is a non-profit business that she is working on to provide art supplies to underserved communities. Not only has she shifted some of the products she sells in Whimsical Black Girl, but she continues to build painting into her schedule, self-care practices, cooking, reading fiction novels, and checking in with family and friends. Overall, Stultz uses this time to reset and plan for the future.
Bring beauty into your domestic space with the rewarding feeling of productivity, as well as homemaking. Image courtesy of Frieze.
Now that you have the toolkit to crushing it at working at home, let us know your success stories. We believe sharing the triumph during this trying and hard time for many people. Productivity means more than just meeting deadlines and punching a clock--we know this now because of the transition of workplaces because of the current circumstances. So, pull up sleeves and be determined to make this experience work for you. You may continue to work from home or go back to the office renewed and refreshed.