We’re now fast approaching the 1-year mark in the work-from-home debacle that pretty much all of us have found ourselves in at some point over the course of the last 12 months, so I thought it might be a good time to reflect on my experience over the year gone by, with some input from our team here at Embryo too! What’s interesting is that no two people seem to have had the same experience working from home; some love it, some hate it, some are hyper-productive, whilst others really struggle to get going at all during the day. Here are a few of the things that I’ve encountered that might offer you some comfort, guidance, or assistance as we continue to work from home for the foreseeable future!
Working from home feels… weird
There’s no escaping it, the feeling of getting out of bed each morning to remain seated in the same four walls all day feels incredibly weird. After years of creating routines and learning how to navigate the professional world, having my daily structure completely vanish before my eyes was a shock to the system, that’s for sure. Now that I’m a year into things, I can safely say that things still feel a little bit odd, but so does the idea of being back in an office, which does leave me at a bit of a crossroads, but I know that once the time comes, I’ll be eager to get back in the office with my colleagues.
In my personal experience, I probably couldn’t have made things any more difficult for myself – I chose to start a new job in the middle of a pandemic, which was never going to be easy and has presented me with a new set of challenges that I wasn’t expecting to encounter. One of the biggest challenges faced is certainly the age-old “getting-to-know-each-other” stage – something that I usually find very easy when I’m able to sit and have a chat with someone. As something of a social butterfly, struggling with social interactions really knocked me for six initially. Thankfully, the team at Embryo are incredibly welcoming and supportive, which has made the transition a lot smoother and I now find myself feeling really comfortable in my new role just a few months down the line.
Still, it does still feel peculiar having only met a handful of the people that I interact with every day, but until restrictions are lifted, that’s all we can do. If you find that you’re having trouble fitting in, don’t be afraid to speak out – there will always be someone who wants to help you out and you’ll never find that you’re being purposely alienated. A simple “hi” or “hello” could be enough to spark new relationships and friendships with your colleagues!
Tips for productivity
Across the board, it feels like one of the biggest hurdles to overcome has been maintaining a good level of productivity each day, which really is easier said than done when working remotely for an extended period of time. There are, however, a few tips and tricks that the team here at Embryo have complied to help us all work to the best of our ability – you can find these below:
- If it’s possible, create an office space for yourself! Working from home means that the boundaries between your work life and private life become incredibly blurred, so it’s vital that you dedicate certain spaces to work and others to relaxing so as not to become overwhelmed. If you’ve got a space room – that’ll make the ideal office space, but if that’s not an option, setting aside a specific seat at the dining table or a certain corner of a bedroom can be a huge help in separating spaces and creating boundaries.
- Dual monitors aren’t just for aesthetic, they’re a vital tool! Working from home means that you’re likely trying ot do everything on a laptop or tablet, which offer nowhere near as much screen space as you’re probably used to at the office. To combat this, use a second monitor – by doubling the space available to you, you’re able to disperse your tabs and make everything feel a little less cluttered and messy.
The fridge is your enemy
We’ve all been there, you’re feeling a bit bored or down and all of a sudden, you hear those snacks in the fridge calling your name and suddenly you find yourself eating snack upon snack out of nothing other than sheer boredom. When you’re stuck in your home, it’s far too easy to keep diving into the fridge as you pop to make a cup of tea, a problem you’ve never had to deal with in the office. For some, it’s just harmless snacking, but for others, it’s now becoming an unwanted habit that’s stopping you from being healthy and staying productive – if this sounds like you, this is your reminder to keep away from the fridge during work hours!
Look after yourself
Above all else, you need to ensure that you’re looking after yourself – if you aren’t dedicating some time to a bit of self-care and “me-time” every so often, it’s easy to start feeling down with everything that’s going on around us. Something that I’ve found really useful is routine – I have lots of energy, which can often make it easy for me to get distracted and go off on a tangent, so having some kind of structure in place to organise my day is a game-changer. This doesn’t have to be a rigid, heavily enforced routine, just something that gives you small targets to hit during the day; waking up at the same time, eating breakfast, getting some exercise, and finishing work at the right time all help you to ensure that you’re in the right frame of mind to tackle the day.
Of course, it’s not always that easy to get on the right track and obstacles that may look like a molehill from the outside can feel like a mountain when they’re in front of you – in times like this, you’ve got to have a safe space to speak out. Whether this is to a friend, a family member, an HR rep, or just somebody you feel comfortable opening up to, talking about the problems you deal with is the first step in tackling them.
We’re passionate about ensuring that nobody has to struggle with their mental health alone, which is why we’ve made Manchester Mind our charity partner for 2021 – we hope to be able to raise lots of money to help this fantastic charity to keep doing all of the special things that they do to support people with their mental health.
Keep your eyes and ears peeled over on our social channels to stay up-to-date with our latest fundraising efforts!