Is it possible to be happy while working from home for a long period, like the COVID lock down?
The world has changed a lot in the last two years. The corona-virus crisis has caused a perennial change in the way business is done, which has made personal and professional life operate from the same physical space, and that has had its problems.
Although there are several problems that one faces while working from home, there have to be solutions to them. This is the happiness blog, and it is my responsibility to try and find solutions to the problem, and suggest a few.
So, let us look at ways to be happy and productive while working from home:
1. Make an office space within your home
There is a need we have separate office spaces, and work spaces. However, the virus has closed that gap. In order to create a semblance of an office space that you used to have, create one within the home. Work from a room in your home, which is dedicated office during the work hours.
During this time, nobody should be able to disturb you. It is your office, you are working.
2. Create a work schedule and let your family know
Although you are working from home, there has to be some predictability in your availability to your family. The great thing is, that there is no commute anymore, and so you are saving on time, which you can use to spend with your family.
Make a schedule and paste it on your room door, so that everyone is aware about it and that ways, time is respected. In case your partner also has a job, it would make sense to align on the work schedules. In case of kids, you would need to make time and space for their school or college classes that would be happening online.
So, the schedule and discipline is critical to time management.
3. Dress up for meetings and wear something nice on the top (at least)
work from home wear
When you are doing a meeting online, it makes sense to dress up, shave and dress up. One of the casualties of a work from home schedule could be the morning shower. If you don’t bathe in the morning, it’s highly likely, you may not bathe for the rest of the day.
So, make the effort to do it in the morning and dress up, a bit?
4. Exercise every day to be happy while working from home
For me, one of the major casualties of the lockdown, has been the gym. I love working out, and being fit, and the lockdown has taken it away from me. In the second wave, I have stopped even going out to the road to work out. So, I work out from home.
Order a yoga mat, and use it! Work-out from home. Spend at least 30 minutes every day stretching and breathing. It is a life saver, and puts you in a good mood.
5. When you have time, read
Reading is one of the best things you can do in life, with or without work from home. Reading is mental workout. Make some time to read something interesting every day. People are always writing interesting books and stories. You may want to pick up something that entertains or educate you. I have written a few, that you may want to check out.
6. Stay in touch with your friends and family
These are tough time for everyone. Be in touch with your friends and family, who are physically not with you. You may need them, and they may need you at any point. Just keep in touch. It will help you to be happy while working from home. We are social beings, and these are perhaps the loneliest times in the history of the world.
Once the virus subsides, whenever it does, work from home would still continue for most companies, since the world has changed forever.
7. Make more effort to be productive to be happy while working from home
I recently read a beautiful quote that said action by itself leads to happiness. When you work, you produce happy hormones. Be productive through discipline and focus, so that you feel at the end of the day that the day was useful, and you did something worthwhile. Your bosses and your employers would be happy with you. IN case you work for yourself, you, your boss would be happy with you.
When we take actions towards our goals, we feel genuinely happy, regardless of the outcome of our actions. Of course, positive results make us even happier, but action in itself is its own reward.
8. Cherish the time you are getting with your loved ones
It has never happened in the history of the world that you got to spend so much time with people in your family. If people you love and care for are physically close to you, feel grateful for it.
It is even more important in these times when so many people around us have lost their lives to the deadly virus.
9. Consume positive content to be happy
There is a lot of content around us these days. It is just unprecedented. We are exposed to content on television, internet, social media-it is just everywhere. Make sure what you consume helps you in being happy and positive.
If you consume negative content, it may cause stress and anxiety, which you can’t afford. Consume positivity, to let out positivity.
10. Use technology judiciously to be happy while working from home
You don’t need your smartphone all the time. When you are at work, and you need it, use it. In other times, be away from it and keep it away from you. When the smartphone is physically away from you, you are way less likely to use it, to just flip through what’s happening.
Nothing great is happening in the world that you would miss out on, if you don’t check the smartphone every 20 minutes.
11. Use a study table to work, and not the bed
If you really want to be productive while working from home, be away from the bed. The bed isn’t meant for work. The more you use the bed to work, the more you would be inclined to slouch while working, and everything else would suffer.
Not just for productivity, working from a chair that keeps your spine straight is also good for your spine.
12. Take breaks to be happy while working from home
Make time for breaks, like you used to do at work. Take a tea or a coffee break every now and then, so it can keep you refreshed and you can get back to work to meet your productivity targets. It is as important as it always has been.
If your home has a balcony, may be you can stroll in the balcony. Since we can’t venture outside right now, because of the virus, it is important to figure out how to keep moving within the house.
13. Internet is crucial to happiness
Get a good internet connection, preferably a broadband one. Depending on where you live, there should be ISP’s and find the one who offers a great plan for your data need. Not having internet while you are home all the time is a cause of pain and you don’t want that.
Even when you are not working, you need internet so that you can entertain, learn or whatever you may need to do.
14. Work in blocks of time to be happy while working from home
This is more of a work recommendation from an overall productivity perspective. Batch similar pieces of work together so that when you need to focus on one type, you don’t drift to the other. The mind works better that way.
For example, batch all calls you need to make within an hour, and do that while walking in your room. Batch the work that needs mental intensity like writing an important note or a presentation together. Batch similar kinds of work together to be more productive.
15. Wear anti-glare glasses
I have used antiglare glasses ever since I have started working and have never had to use a numbered glass. Now that you are always home and moving from one screen to another- the laptop, mobile, tablet, kindle or whatever it is, it’s important to protect your eyes. Arrange an ant-glare glass from a website that sells one, and you can keep your eyes fresh, and safe while working from home.
16. Make time for meditation
Just make some time for meditation and deep breathing. It puts your mind is a peaceful mode. Close your eyes, breathe deep and let your thoughts wander. Just observe your thoughts and let them move in any direction they do. Do this for a few minutes, and you would feel refreshed at the end of the exercise. Do it in a quiets space where you would not be disturbed.
17. Eat well to be happy while working from home
Now, I know this is not easy, if you don’t have help, like in times of COVID. But, make sure whatever you cook is fresh and health. It doesn’t have to be a grand meal, but it should be nutritious and healthy. Food makes us happy.
If you are fortunate to have a full time help who helps you with cooking, then you know it already. Use food to perk yourself up whenever you feel down.
18. Watch your thoughts and do not let negative thoughts make space
It is easy for negative thinking to make space in our minds especially in these times. When you are home all the time, and there are people dying because of COVID, like they were during the second wave, it is possible to drift towards negative thinking. However, it is more important than ever to try to be positive while working and being at home.
Read positive material, and keep telling yourself that you won’t left negativity make space. If you start having negative thoughts, replace them with something positive, or just simply distract yourself. It takes a sustained mental effort to be positive.
19. Do nothing
It is okay to have do nothing time slots when you need one. It is quite possible to feel numb during the day because of no outdoors, especially during the lockdown. The mind and the body needs movement and variety and that’s why the world offers so many different ways to enjoy and live.
However, considering you can’t step out, be kind to yourself. I have learnt this the hard way. I am too hard on myself sometimes, and I realize that sometimes I can’t just do anything because the mind goes numb, and it is okay.
20. When things get better and you can step out, work out of office/co-working space/whatever it is
It is not easy to always work from home and be at home. When you can step out of home, and work from the different space, do that. It would allow for a change in physical space, and you would feel refreshed. When the virus subsides and your office opens, go out, and make it a hybrid model if that’s allowed.
Considering the future of work, hybrid models where people can work from home sometimes and from office/outdoors when they want would be a great idea to boost productivity and happiness.
21. Find a way to sync your personal life with work life
Although the term work-life balance has always been fuzzy, work from home has made it even more complex. Is there work-life balance when you work from home, or is it work-life imbalance?
The strategy would be to find a way to sync both work and time in a way that you feel you are not neglecting any. So often, people have taken their family members, kids to zoom calls, and it just warms the environment for everyone. It’s great to know who you work with, and not just at a professional level.
Finding ways to be happy, no matter what comes up
This is it- the end of the list. However, keep looking beyond the ways to find ways to be happy while working from home. COVID has changed the world forever in more ways than one, and I am sure there would be more reasons to look for ways to be happy, and ways to be happy at work.
No matter what happens, keep looking for solutions to drive your life towards a higher state of happiness or joy-that’s what life is about.
Thank you for reading.
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I appreciate the time you spent in reading the blog and wish you happiness.