Jamming through emails, three slack accounts going, pop into trading account to see what’s happening, and look down and realize I”m still in my pajamas and it’s 4:00pm. Coffee and Lunchtime seem to be the same thing these days and my toothbrush has unfriended me.
Working from home can be tough for those that haven’t done it before. You can feel caged like kids in the first month of summer, stuck at home. If you think about it, work is our life. We spend more than 1/2 of our time around the workspace with our co-workers, and to remove that even if its in physical form has an impact.
Some people use work to escape from personal lives to a work-life environment and when that escape disappears, people struggle to find the balance required to sustain themselves. As we enter a new social culture that is more digital, more connected and more “internal”, a few things that will help you think/plan how to form healthy habits that will stick.
7 Habits of the Home Office Worker:
- Get dressed: I’m horrible, I can work all day and not shower, not brush my teeth and wear a robe til mid day. Every day you work, get up at the same time, and get showered and dressed. Just do it, that habit will help you with your attitude and work state. I know thats hard when we can’t cut our hair or die it and are looking like neglected poodles, but do a few A/B tests and try it on Monday/Wed next week.. Dress to impress!
- Commute time= Free time. now you don’t have to commute, spend that morning time and afternoon/evening time to create new healthy habits. you just got back up to 10 hours a week or 40 hours a month. We will be doing this for months and habits take 30 days to form, so pick some easy ones. If you are a work out type of person, find new habits during this time, even if its reading , learning or just spending time with those close to you.
- SUN and AIR is good: it’s not cold, no snow (in most cases). Get out every day for an hour, the sun is therapeutic. Even if just sitting in the park, get outside and move around. We sit in chairs, home officed far more than in an office setting , so you must have an outlet to get the blood flowing every hour. This will translate into stamina and stress reduction.
- Flip your calendar. Block off the Big Rocks in your schedule. The old Big rock parable translated block off what is important to you first. (kids to school, exercise, charity work). make the time… you should block out up to 10%-15% of your schedule for big rocks. With the newfound “commute” time, you should have some to spare. For instance, a big rock of mine when I was traveling was “Call my wife at lunch” and it was a 30-minute thing every day in my calendar. Watch this video and pick our big rocks: Health, Family, Knowledge, Religion etc.. what are your big rocks and put those on your calendar FIRST.
- Be more social sensitive. Being all digital and believe me I know how hard this can be as I live it every day. You can’t read people well online, so losing those social ques we can get clumsy in our interactions and relationship building. Some people are just different on video than in person. Most need to adapt and slow down a bit for relationship building. You are more direct online, and more argumentative in person. irony eh? Be super sensitive to social ques you see on calls. you can’t scan a room on zoom, as you must zoom on each, but watch people more closely so you can see the reactions. nonverbal cues are so important to harness in any productive online workforce.
- Rumors, Grievances, and Humor: Be careful! In a digital-only world everything you do can be documented, archived and remembered forever. Seeing words in writing when issues arise can often be misconstrued, so be careful how you use words, tone in email. Be careful about how you share grievances, how you talk about what is happening with and to people, company issues and especially and know what humor works with different people. All can be taken out of context. The rule you must follow is: don’t do anything online that you do not want to be archived. I’m a big believer in having fun and I think we are oversensitive to jokes in general so this is hard to give as a recommendation, but life is too short to not have humor throughout our day. Have fun, just not at the expense of others.
- Fight fair? A remote workforce can manifest passive-aggressive habits. We must avoid this for your own personal sanity and your growth in a company. We are spending half our lives with these people and limited to a laptop screen to live our work lives. People will interpret things differently and may not respond the way you expect. Understand when debating, you must fight fair. When frustrated, take a second or a minute or an hour before you react. In a digital world, you have that luxury of smiling and then screaming after. just don’t react out of anger and if that is the only option do it asynchronously over video vs. text or emails. A general business rule you should follow. Read and re-read any argumentative statement, doesn’t mean you have to be overly verbose, but do recognize you need to make sure they understood you and your intent, so be direct in acknowledging you understand as a receiver and as a sender, make sure they understand you clearly
Enjoy the time, balance life and understand times like this are times we should embrace and try to form habits that can sustain us mentally , physically and professionally.
Big Rocks First!