The working landscape has been in a seemingly constant state of evolution in the past few years. For a while, the typical 9-5 in-office workplace was nonexistent, and the commute to and from the office was a blissful thing of the past. Working from home, zoom meetings, and pajama pants were a standard part of many days. More recently, things have started to go back to normal for many people. Offices are open again, face-to-face interactions are commonplace, and the grind is back in full effect.
In some cases, companies realized that having a workforce that stayed home was not only efficient but more cost-effective, and they either closed their offices for good or gave their employees the option to keep working from home. However, while many people love the change and will only seek a job that allows for remote work, not everyone’s thrilled with working from home. They’re not good at it, didn’t choose it, and aren’t particularly happy about mixing their home life with their work life. Whether you love it or not, here are 5 ways that working from home can be a little more fun.
…but just the bottoms. Make sure the PJs are outrageous: bright colors, images of cats, matched to your youngest, whatever tickles you. Ditch the PJ top, though. Wear a simple crew neck or your favorite white shirt instead. They both look great on Zoom, Facetime, WebEx, and all the video conferencing biggies, and you can stay comfortable yet professional at the same time.
During the height of the pandemic, happy hour video calls became quite popular with coworkers, clients, family, and friends. They allowed workers to invite important customers, employees, and special contacts to have a drink with them. This is still a great idea if you want to catch up while keeping it low-key and not having to travel out of your home. You can set up a 5 p.m. bring-your-own-wine or mocktail happy hour video call, and then keep it short and lively and get off that call in about 15 minutes.
However, if you’re like many people – while working from home is a nice change of pace, you miss the contact that the office environment allows. Happy hours or coffee dates are a great way to get a human connection outside the office. Meet up with coworkers to discuss work (an off-site meeting), or catch up with your friends while the kids are at school and you’ve got some free time on your hands. Because some jobs allow flexibility as far as your working hours, you can set up Friday morning coffee dates and start your day a little later than usual. It’s a great perk that hasn’t always been available and one that you should put to your advantage.
…or traditional or minimalist. Be aware of what your space says about you, and make it say something you like. Animal print file folders for everything! A great-looking desk lamp! Make your space somewhere you want to work each day; you’re not just the employee, you’re the designer, and the space is yours to do what you want with.
Create your own work schedule. Start at 7 a.m. if you’re wired that way. Take a walk every day at 11 a.m. and follow up with a shower and lunch. Or start at 10 a.m. ( if your job allows it) and do your heavy lifting all afternoon if that’s more for you. Don’t drag your workday into a work night. There’s nothing happy about looking at an email at 10:15 p.m. and deciding to answer it just because you saw it or want to feel responsive. Get over the guilt of your flexible schedule. Be flexible!
Do as few things as possible at the same time. Stick to the thing you’re working on. Dogs barking, cats on the computer keys, and phone calls from the pharmacy are all preventable distractions. Multi-tasking is a road to loss of focus and increased time spent on more projects, not fewer.
Most of us have spent years going to the office or work site, and only about 5% of us were “work” from home employees before we were introduced to the coronavirus. As an executive coach, I know the struggles we all have with adapting to change, especially changes we did not want or plan for. It’s a learned skill, and many of us are ramping up fast. We can do it!
This article was written by Karyl Innis, who is leading the way for men and women to communicate more effectively about who they are, what they do, and how well they do it. She is a career brand expert. Karyl wants all of her clients and followers to recognize their personal brands, create their own true messages, and vigorously deploy those messages to accelerate their career growth. Karyl is the CEO and founder of The Innis Company; a career consulting firm focused on building stronger, more distinguished careers for their clients around the world. She is known for her work with executives in identifying their personal brands, elevating their presence, and accelerating their careers. Contact her at [email protected], through her website, or on LinkedIn.