Updated: Aug 28, 2021
Let's not sugar coat it; March 2020 can be defined as a global trauma. As a collective, we experienced unprecedented fear, deep isolation, and some of us even experienced the loss of a loved one. Many of us lost our jobs and had to deal with economic insecurity, while others had to navigate what it now meant to work from home.
A year a half later, we are still learning about this virus and still adjusting to this "new normal." Many businesses went remote during the pandemic for safety reasons. According to Forbes, companies like Coinbase, Dropbox, Quora, Twitter, Slack, and Shopify have given their employees the choice work remotely, indefinitely.
Studies have proven that 77% of remote workers say they're more productive when working from home, 8. 99% of people would choose to work remotely for the rest of their life, even if it was just part-time, 74% of workers say that having a remote work opportunity would make them less likely to leave a company, and 85% of managers believe that having teams with remote workers will become the standard.
Although workers seem to love the flexibility, lack of commute time, and the "PJ all day lifestyle," we can't forget that work life and home life are not the same things. The reason why it's so important to have a clear distinction between the two is that the natural boundary of the office no longer exists.
Creating good boundaries around your remote work schedule will be the most critical thing you can do for your career right now. Here are some tips on how to keep your cool (and your job) in the time of covid.
Brene Brown is the queen bee of self-care, self-help, mental health and is a big believer in setting solid boundaries with other people. She says, "Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others."
How many times during the pandemic have you answered an email after hours or "signed on" before the day had officially started? Did you work on the weekend when you were technically "off the clock?" Each time it happens, it probably feels like no big deal, right? "It's just one little text" or even better, "I am not doing anything else, why not work a little more?"
Let's say it again, "Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others." It's okay to practice self-love even it might slightly inconvenience someone else. Here are some practical tips on how to implement good boundaries and self-care into your work from home life.
Workin 9 to 5
"What a way to make a livin???" Anybody??
If we learned anything from Dolly, let it be that she knew her work hours, and she was not afraid to sing them loud and proud! Although looking back, she might have been off the clock when she murdered her boss with rat poison…
Regardless, know your hours and be firm about them. If you begin your day at 9, start at 9. Have your morning routine out of the way, make sure your space is clean, have your #1 boss mug close by, and start the day on time. Some of us struggle to start work while others struggle to end it.
Set an Alarm
Try setting an alarm that rings 1 hour before your workday is meant to end. That way, you know how much more time is in your day, and you can start to figure out what can wait till tomorrow. Then, whatever you didn't get done that day – write it down and finish it the following day.
Automictic replays or an away message can be an easy and non-confrontational way to set boundaries with your colleagues. It's a function that all email servers have that instantly sends a message back to anyone who contacts you after work.
The message usually says something like, "I am away from my desk, please contact me tomorrow during my normal business hours." Basically, it's a fancy way of saying, "leave me alone; I am watching F Boy Island!"
Pro Tip: You can set automatic replies for text messaging too!
Create a Scared Work Space
Whether you live in a studio apartment, have roommates, or own a bungalow on the beach, create a special place dedicated to work during work hours. Of course, some of us have to repurpose rooms to make this happen, but, if possible, build out a nook in your home just work. Keep that space clean and tidy, and make sure it fits your vibe! If you can, grab a plant or a crystal for ambiance.
Deck of your home office with these sacred crystals!
Put Pants On!
The joke of 2020 is we were business from the waist up and party from the waist down. It was fun at first; however, if remote work is your new norm, consider acting as if you'll be seeing another human that day. This idea doesn't begin and end with wearing pants. Make sure you brush your teeth at a reasonable time, wash your face, shower, put deodorant on, slab some essential oils on your wrists and then, begin the day. This has nothing to do with how you look (after all, you work from home) but everything to do with how you feel.
Brighten up your senses with these essential oils!
The greatest superpower we have as humans is our ability to adapt. March 2020 shook the world in unthinkable ways, and over a year later, we seem to be in a similar spot. The world didn't necessarily get better; we did. We are ever-evolving beings built for change. Cherish what this time has given you. Maybe it's more time with family, less driving, more cooking, more self-care or more nature walks. Whatever it might be, find the good because if we don't flow with this "new normal," we will likely get swept up in the riptide.