A year ago, those who got to work from home were envied by many. Most people thought those WFH (work from home) folks really didn’t do a whole lot of work at all. “They probably watch TV for a few hours, workout, shower and get ready, do a conference call, and nap the rest of the day.”
During this pandemic, the world has been forced to work from home and there has been a global awakening to what that is really like [stay at home and work from home parents everywhere are letting out loud cheers.]. Everyone is more exhausted than ever. We are all juggling kids’ schoolwork on Zoom, client meetings on Zoom, family and friends hanging out on Zoom, chores (maybe done while on Zoom), dogs, more chores, and maybe a workout squeezed in before we pass out.
After a few months of this, we all feel as if we have aged 10 years and we’ve either decided to move into a larger house with 13 offices or move out to a farm and raise baby goats.
Here are 3 of the top problems people are experiencing and a few solutions
Monotony and isolation can kill creativity:
Let’s admit it, we’ve seen enough of our coworkers in pajamas and posts with #MondayBunDay and messy beds in the background. A monotonous daily routine can begin to eat away at our confidence and feed our fears of falling behind. We may question whether we have the ability to do bigger things. It can be hard to dream and create when we are home watching news telling us how bad everything is.
Perhaps you just need to schedule one or two days a week to work from somewhere else. (I know a great coworking spot if you are looking in the south Denver/Centennial Colorado area 😉 The walls of your home get closer and closer together the longer you work inside them.
Go on a news fast. Try not to watch any news or negative television for 30-days. If you need to know what’s going on check trends on social media. Starting your day off with negativity or ending that way will affect your mindset.
Set a creative brainstorming date with a friend once a week. Don’t discuss anything negative. Start by sharing one idea or challenge each and agree to brainstorm ideas—no idea is bad. Just go for as many ideas as possible. Attend an educational or motivational event (check out our events page for fun and safe, upcoming events that are sure to boost your creative juices) or subscribe to a few new podcasts that will bring new bold perspectives to you.
While it’s true that pets will help boost your mood and improve your mental health, your dog or cat can only do so much to help alleviate the feelings of loneliness that set in when working from home. According to an article published in Psychology Today on Loneliness, they state that even if we live with other people, we can experience feelings of loneliness and isolation when we work from home and feel disconnected from the rest of our social circles.
Working from home can make us feel as if we are being left out or out of touch with others on our work teams. We can fall into the comparison trap more easily assuming we are the only ones going through this tough time.
[I have to say that during the whole COVID-19 shut down, The Village Workspace was open because we had people working in their private offices, we processed their business mail and so we went in every day. This gave us such a mental boost and we all agreed that we didn’t have the levels of fear that others were expressing. I believe we had a more optimistic view of our businesses because of getting to go in and be around others…even if it was 6 feet apart.]
There are so many unfavorable outcomes linked to loneliness such as depression, mental illness, increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even 2x the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic loneliness can increase stress hormones, hinder sleep, and result in weakened immunity. While this may seem dramatic since we are talking about working from home, it can definitely affect your mood and overall health.
Schedule virtual coffee-chats or happy hours (in person or virtually) with coworkers and friends. Meetings are not enough. We need friends at work. We need someone who understands our successes and celebrates with us as well as understanding when we are going through a rough patch in our business or job and they can offer to go on a walk with you over lunch or even send you the perfect meme!
This was one of the main drivers behind starting The Village Workspace. I worked from home for over 24 years before deciding to open a coworking space. I knew I needed more than virtual connections. I needed other creative people who I could bounce ideas off of and celebrate those big wins with. I needed to know that when I was having a really bad day and needed someone who could just listen, there would be someone who would listen and then share stories of how they persevered and got back up! I needed community.
We do not have to tell you that working from home brings many distractions, but this is such a unique set of distractions that it’s worth examining a bit closer to find some creative solutions.
The fact that everyone wants to be on VIDEO calls is a major distraction. It’s one thing to walk around the house with earbuds in chatting with someone while you are also clearing your desk or doing a load of laundry, but now we have to actually… PAY ATTENTION! Yikes, we are busted. All of the Zoom calls and Facetime calls are definitely cutting into our productivity.
With schools opening partially or not at all in some areas, we now have the distraction of trying to keep our kids on task to complete schoolwork or just stop pushing their siblings down the stairs in cardboard boxes while we wrap up the proposal that’s due in one hour. It’s enough to make any parent need their own timeout in a dark quiet room somewhere… anywhere… but that’s the problem, there is no escape room in this situation.
Set up accountability touchpoints with a coworker, team member, or friend to set a morning goal challenge and commit to checking in at noon or other time to report on what you accomplished. Distractions will not go away, but when we have to report back to someone, we can lite a fire and get more focused.
Another thing that helps is to set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes. Short bursts of productivity will allow you to stay focused in between all of the distractions.
Lastly, (and most importantly) you can get out of the house for a few hours each day by finding a coworking space nearby to go into for some focus work time.
If you are ready to break out of the monotony of working from home and you just need a place where everybody knows your name, come visit The Village Workspace! It’s time to take your business or workday experience to new heights. We have private offices available as well as dedicated desks with lots of social (and anti-social) space to work.