Motivation when working from home

As I’m starting to feel a bit like a yoyo – working in the office, working from home,  back in the office, then back to working from home again (you get the picture), I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you. I know there is a lot of positive stuff out there in the wide world of social media / the internet / experts but there is a lot of negative stuff as well. In the beginning I was complacent, just did my sheep imitation and followed the rules, didn’t actually stop to think that this could be the new normal for years to come!

I think a little differently now and although I am not saying that this won’t end, because I think it will at some point, I am saying that we need to accept that our lives have changed and we do not have the freedom we once took for granted.

My number one suggestion is still to just take it one day at a time, choose the one source of truth (loosely used term) – for me this is the 1pm briefings. I try not to listen to other assumptions, forecasts, or social media on what will be or not be.

Plus, I enjoy lock down! I know that a lot of you don’t and I can empathise and feel for you and your mental health, especially if you are trying to work, look after children and juggle a happy healthy household. But there are those of us that have enjoyed the forced slow down, the extra time at home and small bubbles of physical interaction.

Keeping motivated on work is not easy though as the spring warm days call you outside to garden and enjoy the vitamin D and generally just soak up the near end of winter. At least that is what most days had been like – apart from some fun rainy / blustery / stormy afternoons and nights. Again, something I enjoy as I’m warm, cosy and happy in my little bubble watching it from indoors. 

Back to my original thoughts… my suggestions are to get up at the normal time (I’m not saying you have to get dressed at the normal time – although this is advised, especially if you have on screen meetings), enjoy your morning beverage while scanning emails and whatever other communication you need to, then make a list of all the tasks to do today and also what projects you could do that may be beneficial while not being as interrupted as normal in the office. Do not forget to be disciplined about tea breaks, lunchtime, and exercise – getting out of the house for a bit for some fresh air is good. And finishing work at a normal time. Shut down your laptop or pc, this will then require effort to turn it back on and you may just decide that you are not surgeons, no-one will die if you don’t reply back today.

Another suggestion I have is to prioritise your list of tasks. Put this into three categories, what is urgent? What will give your team collaboration and interaction? – either over phone / online meetings / or documents back and forth and, what is fun? 

Obviously, you will need to do the urgent tasks first. But then choose from the interactive and fun tasks. Try to make sure you are doing at least one of each, each day. This will help to keep you in contact with the team and / or customers / clients and the fun ones will keep you motivated.

Zoom meetings and collaborations can be tiring, we need to ensure we are taking enough time to recharge before hopping straight onto another phone call or zoom meeting. When you are in the office, you probably take a break, move from your desk, make coffee give your body and brain a rest. Try to make sure you do that in your home office / environment as well.

To summarise:

  1. Choose your Covid update platform and try not to get sucked in to all the other on-line or visual forecasts and assumptions.
  2. Try to treat every day as normal as possible with getting up, preparing tasks, and keeping normal office hours.
  3. Make a list of priorities for your tasks. And along with the fun ones, add in projects that you have not been able to do while in the office. This will give you a great sense of accomplishment and help with the feeling that working out of the office is not all bad.
  4. Try to keep online meetings to a minimum, they are tiring when back to back.
  5. Eat normally (do not become bigger than your bubble), exercise and do something you enjoy!
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