By now you have probably seen plenty of posts and articles talking you through “how to work from home.”

They list the tools you need, the routine you should create and encourage you to keep in touch with your team. While these are all important, it’s not as simple given the strange times we are in. This post hopes to encourage you to be kinder to yourself and take the pressure off while we face uncertainty.

It’s your routine

I’ve read plenty of posts that encourage you to build a routine. This is excellent advice, but it’s important that this is ‘your routine’. If you work best in the morning, do that. If you prefer to start work later and finish later, make it happen. This is especially important if you have a young family to care for while trying to get your hours in. Make your time productive and work at the time that’s best for you and your family.

  • Talk to your manager about your schedule and if there is room to flex your hours.
  • Make sure you are switching off when the workday is over to avoid work stretching into your rest time.
  • If you have a family at home, you can’t simply shut the office door for a full eight hours of work. Don’t be hard on yourself if you have to take time away from your desk to care for family members in your bubble.

Be human

We are not just working from home. We’re caring for family, trying to entertain little ones, and running households under unusual circumstances. This is all part of being a human and not something to try and hide. If you have an unexpected visitor during a meeting, whether a small child or family pet that’s ok. You’re doing your best to juggle both work and home, sometimes it happens.

  • If you need to flex your hours or take time in the middle of the day talk to your manager so they know where you’re at. You need to be there for the people in your bubble as well as the people at work.
  • If you have to balance home life and family life your colleagues will understand. Keep them updated with when you will be online with a quick message or Slack status. You’re doing great.

Take the pressure off

Training platforms and course providers have been quick to offer free or discounted courses. While this is great and a good opportunity to upskill, don’t put pressure on yourself to become the next 10x Developer while getting through this.

  • Focus on getting one thing done well each day rather than a long to-do list.
  • Don’t expect you will be able to get through all those courses this month. This isn’t a normal weekend at home where you can power through Pluralsight.
  • When you’re not working, make sure you are taking care of yourself and doing things that help you relax.

Switch off and self-care

Self-care and wellness have been a hot topic in 2020 and is now more important than ever. Pushing yourself to meet deadlines while scrolling through news and politics will quickly get you down. Take time each day to rest and relax with a focus on both your mental and physical health.

  • Get fresh air. Even if it is simply standing outside your front door or on your balcony to take a break from the screen.
  • Read a book, do a workout, take a bath, just anything that is not focussed on work or the news so you can switch off for a bit.
  • Be aware of the impact that negative news can have on your wellbeing, and try to balance this with other perspectives.

Keep talking

Even if you identify as an introvert, you still need people time. While in your usual workplace you probably spent a good amount of your workday with workmates. Chatting while making coffee, walking to lunch, spinning around to ask a question or just having impromptu meetings. All of this is just as important as the deep work you do in front of the screen.

  • Set up a video chat where your team can drop in for a catch-up and just chat. Make time for this to keep up to date with what’s going on and just chat.
  • Get on the phone with a work friend, even just for 15 minutes, to bounce ideas around and come back to your work refocussed.

Working from home is an adjustment but even more so as we face an uncertain future. Keeping the focus on your family, your wellness and communicating with your workmates will help you get through this.

Be kind to yourself and others. You’re doing great.

Photo by Matt Hardy from Pexels