Step into the realm of the new work order, where the traditional office environment has transformed into a canvas of flexibility and innovation. The buzz phrase? Working from home (WFH).
The way we engage with our professional lives has undergone a remarkable shift. One such example is Yardstick, as previously discussed by Phil in March 2023.
Remember the days before Covid? The clockwork routine of 9 to 5 kept us tethered to our office desks, with the hustle beginning at the break of dawn. We navigated the urban jungle for a coveted spot on public transport or battled through relentless traffic.
The cycle was repeated on the journey back, often extending our days beyond 6 pm. Amid this struggle, evenings turned into a juggling act of responsibilities, leaving little time for ourselves. Yet, for some, this rhythm was a melody they danced to; for me, it was a symphony out of tune.
Fast forward to December 2022: a pivotal moment in my story as I relocated to Glasgow. The era of hybrid work beckoned, offering a blend of office interactions and the tranquillity of home. While the office occasionally pulled me in for brief encounters with the corporate world, fate had different plans.
A relocation of more than 280 miles connected me to the remote working environment, leaving the physical office space as a distant memory. Six-hour train journeys to Nottingham or marathon nine-hour coach trips (never again!) have become my rare bridges to the tangible office setting.
After eight months of experiencing remote work, I’ve acquired valuable insights. Let’s explore these in more detail.
1. It can get lonely
The expansive landscape of remote work can occasionally lead to a sense of isolation, even for someone like me, who appreciates solitude.
While I often find solace in quiet moments, there are times when the echo of my thoughts becomes more pronounced. In such instances, it’s just me and my cats, navigating the delicate balance between tranquillity and introspection.
This reality wasn’t something I anticipated before my relocation, and I certainly battled with it for a few months.
Loneliness can have a negative impact on your mental and physical wellbeing and can affect your performance.
How to overcome this challenge:
- Hold engaging team meetings and catch-ups: Scheduling time to chat with your team and have meaningful conversations goes a long way. It doesn’t always have to be work-related, either. You could also try working from a coffee shop, café, or a co-working space.
- Stay busy: Try to plan social activities outside work that give you the social interaction you need. My recent blog on making the most out of your evenings after work might be of interest.
- Venture outside: Taking myself off for a walk is super important. It’s great for a break, fresh air and for your creativity. Being stuck indoors can suck the life out of you, and I learned that the hard way!
- Regular team social events: A resounding truth emerges: the significance of team gatherings remains steadfast. For Yardstick, this translates into three annual get-togethers that unite our scattered team in Nottingham. Virtual interactions evolve into tangible camaraderie, forging bonds and creating meaningful friendships with colleagues.
- Speak to a therapist or counsellor: At Yardstick, we have a retained counsellor as we really prioritise our team’s mental wellbeing. Having this option means we have the peace of mind that we can chat to someone whenever we need to. If you don’t have this option, you could try an online therapist such as BetterHelp, offering reduced costs compared to seeing someone in-person.
2. Not being able to unplug
The allure of post-work productivity can be irresistible, blurring the line between work and personal time. Unlike traditional office days, the boundaries are less defined in the WFH setting, which can make it difficult to relax and switch off once the day is done.
How to overcome this challenge:
The solution lies in establishing a designated workspace—a place dedicated to work but also respecting its end. Closing the laptop signifies the conclusion of the day’s tasks, reigning in the temptation of unfinished work.
3. More time freedom
Bid farewell to the daily commute—a delightful liberation!
Working from home gives me great flexibility in my daily life. It means I can do my workouts at lunch, instead of after work. I don’t have to run to the shop for a last-minute meal deal because I’ve forgotten to make myself something, I can just head to the kitchen.
There’s no commute for me to worry about, and that alone makes a huge difference in the time it frees up. There’s more time to relax in the morning before the workday starts, and no stress at the end of the day when you miss your bus or train or get stuck in rush hour traffic. This newfound surplus of time is a gift and a huge benefit of remote work for me.
4. Increased productivity levels
The marriage of time freedom and increased happiness culminates in heightened productivity. Distractions fade away in the home environment, allowing me to focus more effectively.
While I miss the office banter, the productivity boost brings the satisfaction of an earlier finish and a promising tomorrow, as I am able to get more done and tick more off the to-do list.
Share your thoughts
The canvas of working from home paints a diverse range of experiences, each representing triumphs and discoveries. From embracing solitude to savouring time freedom, and from finding happiness to achieving peak productivity, remote work is full of potential.
Whether you already work from home, take a hybrid approach or are looking to go fully remote, think of these insights as helpful tips, not strict rules. Create a peaceful workspace, find balance, and adapt your approach to create a good work-life blend that works for you.
We invite you to share your thoughts with us. Reach out at email@example.com or call us on 0115 8965 300.