We have had several clients who are really struggling with working from home. Some, it’s simply because the house is full, home-school needs, poor internet connections, or confusion and uncertainty about not just COVID, but lack of camaraderie with coworkers. We have a son who is working from home for the first time and he talks about how he feels he doesn’t really have a job, even though he does.
Here are a few of the thing we are hearing:
Frustration #1: I feel like there is a total lack of direction to my schedule and work!
I’m not sure I’m working on the right things! The idea and trust afforded with remote work is wonderful, but if we aren't used to working alone it’s not hard to get confused about what we are needing to achieve or complete. We get it…we’ve worked at home for several years now and still can feel that way.
Suggestions: Start each day writing down where you are and where you need to go with your work that day. Set a schedule. Get “dressed” for work. Spend time reviewing and revisiting the work assignments you’ve been given. And…check in with someone else you work with - a boss, admin or co-worker to connect with your company or organization. Spend some time revisiting and clarifying - or creating a vision for your work or your business. If you are a list person or like checklists, write out what you will work on the next day at the end of each day.
Frustration #2: I feel like I am living on a deserted island! Well….in some ways you are isolated. And isolation can breed loneliness! If it helps, most people right now are working from home. We work with large tech companies on quality surveys and have found that 90% of the people we talk to are now working from home. For us, the loneliness helps us — people pick up the phone much more quickly to talk to another person!
Suggestions: Set aside 15-20 minutes each day to pick up your phone and talk to someone. Take an online class. We use Zoom for some of our work and attendance has been much better since the stay-at-home went into place. Engage in a virtual cup of coffee, a virtual happy hour. Be the proactive one! Others are feeling the same way you are.
Frustration #3: I am having a very difficult time staying motivated! This global pandemic has taken a toll on everyone. Unless you are over 100 years old and experienced the Spanish flu, you have never been through this before. We don’t know what to do, what tomorrow brings, or when we will be allowed to go back to work. If there is any comfort….we all feel that way. Why wouldn’t you have a hard time being motivated!
Suggestions: What motivate you when you are at work? Is it a project? Is it visiting with customers? Writing a new manual? Try to find something that fills you and can keep you focused as you work at home. Fortunately, motivation is something you can have control over!
Frustration #4: I worry that I’m not being productive enough and might lose my job.
First of all…worrying about whether you are productive or not is simply not helpful! Also, it is important to remember that productivity does not equal value.
Suggestions: Guess what? You might be able to do 8 hours of work in 5 hours when you work at home. You need to know that is ok. Do your work, but take breaks as you need them. Stay hydrated. Exercise every single day. Give yourself some grace. Again, set a schedule. Be dressed and ready to work and put your task and contact lists together the night before and get after it.
Working remotely is incredibly difficult when it is not your norm. You will feel out of synch, but know that you have the power within you to control how you feel and how you think. And truth be told, that is about all you have control over right now. We have found in our own lives that opportunity and growth can come from adversity and crises, but you need to be willing to look for it.
Perspective in this kind of a situation is huge! We really believe that there will be many people who make the decision to change jobs during this pandemic time. There might be some who really don’t want to work anywhere but their home. We already are talking and working with others who have decided this is the time to start a business. We have seen ”permanently closed” signs go up on businesses, while others have discovered new ways to be in business. So what will you do as you experience this new way of living and working?
There is a possibility you will experience dark days or days where you just can’t concentrate because of this uncertainty and new world we are in. But, just as you would when those days came when you worked in the office…give yourself a break to take a personal day and do something you enjoy, take some extra naps or walks and then get back to it the next day!