Working From Home Part 2: Distractions, Expectations and Boundaries

The last article ended on concerns about your kids using up all the WiFi—unless you have unusually self-sufficient kids or older children who understand that you are at work even though you are at home keeping them occupied could be an issue.

Believe it or not most kids like having a schedule and find comfort in that familiarity—so make a schedule and stick to it. Books, puzzles and other quiet games are good. Also, some screen time is OK. Some television is fine. If you let your kids play video games those are OK as well.

If you have the right mix of ages among your children asking the older ones to help.

Now that you’ve got your family and technology sorted, what next?

Make sure you and your boss are on the same page about what the expectations are for your new work from home position. Do you need to be 100% available during business hours or can you work asynchronously to a degree? Will you be handling all the same work or has your position changed slightly since you are moving home?

If this transition is absolutely new to everyone (you, the company, your boss) keeping an open dialog and noting what is going well and not so well will be key.

You’ll also have to consider yourself—can you jump out of bed, sit down and get to it cup of coffee in hand? Are you easily distractible?

Many work from home guru’s have long made the suggestion that people maintain their typical morning routine. This includes the clothes you wear. For some, this will be necessary to switch their brain over to “work mode.”  This will take some trial and error.

Likewise, you need to establish clear boundaries with you job. Working from should not mean you are available day and night, weekdays and weekends. If you have web phone setting it to DND or unplugging it after work hours as well as shutting down your work computer complete is a signal to both your job and your brain that the work-day is done.

Basic Tips For Beating Winter Blues

 

Many of us go through periods of low energy or periods of feeling “blue” when the days dark, short and cold. This energy very easily comes with us to our work. Whether a leader or a team member this wintertime energy drop can make it very tough for us to be our best. However, there are some easy things you can try at the office to help energize people.  

It is well established that the lack of sunlight during winter months affects people’s moods and health. An easy way to combat this is a light therapy box, many of which fit neatly on an average desk. Specifically, the correct kind of light helps the body release the “feel good” chemical in our brains Serotonin. These light boxes need to emit at least 2,500 lux to be effective. It is recommended, typically, that people use these in the morning—many find it helps them wake up. Additionally, some people will use the light boxes during their mid-day slump to energize them instead of more coffee or caffeine.  

Introducing real plants into the office can help everyone. Researchers have found the benefits range from increased productivity, stress reduction and they can even affect positively the amount of sick days taken by employees. They also help increase or oxygen intake. Living walls are now popular, however average house plants in regular planters will work as well if not as fashionable.  

Many offices are aesthetically dull, especially in the color department. While a total make-over might be out of the question adding some bright yellow, pink, red or blue to your surroundings can help us feel alert and more cheerful. Add some colorful pieces of décor to your desk or spruce up the office with some new artwork—combine this with the previous suggestion, get some plants with colorful pots.  

You may want to consider taking extra time to keep things tidy in our workspace as this will unclutter your mind. Also, people get quite dried out in the winter, pay close attention to your hydration levels.