Working from Home for life
For over a year now, the pandemic has shifted our lives in ways, many of us were not prepared for. From wearing a mask everywhere, not being able to gather to celebrate loved ones or friends’ birthdays, kids virtually learning, to working from home. It was the reality that startled a lot of us, a lifestyle we all were struggling with getting used to, at first, but now as many companies are noticing, working remotely or even hybrid working could potentially be the new normal.
For many working from home was not an option before Covid, so when having to transition into working from home, many found it difficult. Everyone was facing different struggles while getting used to working from home. For Rayann Martinez, a new mom, she explained to me that she got pregnant early in the pandemic, “I was already working from home, so when I had the baby, my boss saw that I was able to continue the volume and quality of work he needed so he allowed me to stay home. I feel very lucky to be able to work from home with my baby, it has been working out.” Not only getting into the routine of working from home, but now learning all the wonderful blessings a baby brings, that is a lot to juggle, but when asked how productive she feels she is throughout the day, that seemed like no problem. She explains, “I think needing and wanting to spend more time with my baby throughout the day makes me more productive while she sleeps. Sometimes I find myself finishing my whole work week on Wednesday or Thursday! She’s a great incentive to finish early. I love the freedom; it helps me get things done faster.”
For others, working from home had different challenges, for Melanie Estrada, Marketing Manager in Los Angeles, while working in an office, you are somehow always getting pulled into meetings sometimes all day, or having small talk with your coworkers about their weekend, but now you do not have those things to interrupt you while at home, but now you have the distractions of everything in your home.
Melanie shares with me “There are days where I feel more productive than others. The very first months of working from home, I was easily distracted. I got tempted by the pile of laundry next to me or playing with my new puppy when I didn’t have calls. However, now that it’s been over a that I’ve been working from home, I do feel like I am more focused on the work. I’ve realized how productive I could be when I am not being interrupted by last-minute meetings that I get pulled into or small talk irrelevant to my current work.”
Creating an effective workspace is essential if you want to stay on track and get things done, making sure you have all the equipment and materials at hand. Having enough room to work comfortably is important, if not you’ll likely find plenty of excuses to get up and go somewhere else. Melanie has an office in her spare bedroom. “I have a standup desk just like I did in my old office, and it’s helped tremendously. I try not to bring my laptop to be or the couch because I’m not as productive.”
Now, working from home has a lot of pros to it, the main ones being you are at home, and you have no commute time meaning you are not sitting in traffic. Then you have some cons, one being having few social interactions and feeling isolated. Rayann says, “One thing you can’t beat is saying good morning to coworkers and interacting with people outside of my home. Sometimes I realize I haven’t left the house in a couple of weeks. That can feel lonely, especially when I’m speaking baby talk all day. Interacting with people face to face is something I miss working from home.” Or for Melanie who shares that she feels that this has been the hardest part about working from home, “I miss interacting with my teammates outside of a zoom call. It was nice to go on a walk for lunch or coffee and chat about our day. Sometimes the best ideas would come from social interactions.” This time has been a struggle for a lot, some even feeling isolated from others. Just remember to keep a healthy routine, some are tempted to start work earlier and finish later, especially with no commute time, but take that extra time to remove yourself from work.
Working remotely has changed the way we work, as we continue with these unpredictable circumstances, more companies will continue to explore this option. As exciting as working from home can be, as with everything in life, you will face some flaws. These ladies gave a small insight into how these experiences have been, both completely different lifestyles. So, are we all ready to embrace this new way of living? Only time will tell.