As the country pushes to get the majority of Americans vaccinated, and as COVID-related deaths in the United States continue to steadily decline, employees and employers are beginning to imagine what work will look like in the (eventual) post-COVID world. Will we all be working in offices again? Will we be working from home? Will we operate in some type of hybrid model?
For those who will have the luxury of working from home, there are still many questions left to answer. Throughout this piece we will assess a variety of tips for these individuals to consider as most people return to the office, while others will maintain (and hope to optimize) the work from home lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to – and enjoyed.
Tip #1: Feel comfortable with the idea of being detached
Working from home requires being comfortable with being detached to a certain degree. First, you physically won’t be around your coworkers so you’re technically detached in a physical sense. This is often why companies want their employees in one centralized location, so they “feel” attached. When you feel attached to something, it’s easy to feel a part of something, and thus you feel committed to and invested in something bigger than yourself: the company. When you’re detached from something, that thing has less bearing over you. It’s an idea rather than something tangible. It’s a big reason why companies why their employees back in the office as soon as it’s safe.
So one tip to get right as you work from home while the rest of the world returns to the office is to meditate and “feel your feelings.” Get in touch with where you’re at, who you are, and how you identify your work – and find the necessary spaces to detach yourself from your work. If you don’t, you might find yourself overstressing. Detachment will set you up for success and put you in a place where you can navigate the office in a digital world.
Tip #2: Give your body the tools it needs to run itself effectively
The body is like a car that needs fuel to run effectively, however, for the body, “fuel” can mean a lot of things. It can be tangible things, like energy that comes from food. And it can also be more intangible things, like energy that comes from engaging with smart people and engaging in adventurous activities. The key is to know what things work for your body and how to utilize those things in moderation so you can harness the energy properly. That’s important to think about because working from home will very much rely on your capacity to maintain a high level of productivity, much of which relies on endurance.
So, for instance, rather than drinking sugary drinks in the morning, perhaps try something healthy and hydrating like water. In addition, rather an energy drink later in the afternoon, maybe think about having a coffee instead (you can also order coffee in bulk in advance so you have an endless supply!). Suffice to say, focus on the things that will give your body the energy (and stamina) it needs to maintain high levels of productivity.
Tip #3: Take long walks in search of inspiration
Some of the most successful thinkers often speak about how they’ve turned taking long walks into a daily routine; Ryan Holiday, for instance, is one of them. On walking, Ryan Holiday has said, “I’ve found that being aware on my walks—being present and open to the experience—has brought me closest to what I assume the Buddhists are talking about.” In other words, walking allows our minds to be more present. Also, walking helps us get a clearer perspective on things.
As we spend endless hours working from home and sitting at our desks, we’ll want to make sure we make time to get out, take a step back, and see what else is going on in the world. Walking gives us the chance to detach (there’s that word again!) from the work that’s in front of us so that we can gain insights from outside elements. Walking, even walking meetings, also gives us patience, time to think, and an angle of gratitude for work. Something important that walking teaches us is that work is important but it’s not everything, per se. It’s a part of our lives, but it’s not our lives. When you walk, and see the world, and all the things that make up our existence, it helps us see that working is a piece of the ecosystem we inhabit, but it’s not the habitat itself.
Tip #4: Your home is still your home
Lastly, our home may be “our office” but it’s not “the office”; it’s our home. We have to remember this as we continue to work remotely while other businesses return to the office. This means, essentially, that we have to treat our homes with purposefulness, respect, and appreciation. Certain spots in our homes can be designated for work, but there should be others that should not be available to us while we work – there should be a separation. For instance, working from your bed can be dangerous because the mind needs to register the bed as a place of relaxation, not as a place of work. Everything we do should be thought out and done with our best interests in mind.