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Extreme loneliness or the perfect balance? How to work from home and stay healthy

Successful home-based working

Keys to successful home-based working:

  • Self-confidence
  • Knowing how to communicate clearly (so your colleagues know what you are up to)
  • Learning to work consistently (in the absence of feedback)
  • Recognizing when you need to take a break.

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Extreme loneliness or the perfect balance? How to work from home and stay healthy

Extreme loneliness or the perfect balance? How to work from home and stay healthy

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/mar/25/extreme-loneliness-or-the-perfect-balance-how-to-work-from-home-and-stay-healthy

theguardian.com

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Key Ideas

Digital Nomad

The idea of working from home, on your laptop, flexibly, without having to do the daily commute, is appealing to many office workers.
In the UK there are 4.8 million freelance workers, and many companies are allowing remote working to office workers due to better, more reliable technology.

The Other Side

Studies on long term work-from-home workers found that lack of interaction with colleagues and the lack of an office vibe can result in a disconnection from the outer world, leading to isolation.

Working at Home

Pitfalls of working from home: 

  • Mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Feeling isolated
  • Less self-discipline
  • Lack of exercise
  • Unable to keep the boundaries between work and life.

The Lonely Worker

Working from Home requires you to work on your alone, just by yourself. This can lead to:

  • Having less information or perspective of what's happening in the office.
  • Not knowing when to stop working or switch off for the day.
  • Home issues like taking care of the child or some other work taking up more of your time.
  • A feeling of loneliness.

Successful home-based working

Keys to successful home-based working:

  • Self-confidence
  • Knowing how to communicate clearly (so your colleagues know what you are up to)
  • Learning to work consistently (in the absence of feedback)
  • Recognizing when you need to take a break.

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Start Early and Mimic Office Time

The schedule that makes you start early, and mimic the office hours works best, as you end up being free earlier too. However, night owls may find working at night to be more productive or comfortable for them.

Maintaining a schedule in a routine, while incorporating regular exercise with it, works best.

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Make a to-do list a day before and start without friction in the morning with complete clarity.

Having a structure of the day helps in your productivity, and gets you to finish your important tasks on time.

Disconnect From Work

Try to block some time off your workday to have a stroll outside, or to make coffee, or a midday lunch break. This brings the day under your control.

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Remote work is common

4.3 million people currently work from home in the United States at least half of the time, and this figure has grown by 150% in the last 13 years.  

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Mimic Your Office Culture

For many of us, the office becomes a fun place due to a sense of community, purpose and fun interactions that make up an office day. To try and mimic your office culture virtually:

  1. Set up Slack channels for water cooler conversation
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  3. Try to recreate virtual versions of what employees miss the most in office, like a coffee break, for instance.
Being Social While Remotely Working

Being social at office lubricates official conversations and the work itself. The more we spend time with colleagues having non-essential chatter, the easier our work becomes with them.

It helps to be creative and infuse fun into a virtual interaction. Any official conversation, like a manager meeting his subordinates in a one-on-one meeting, can start by asking about the person’s life (something unrelated to work), so that a connection is built.

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Rules for remote work
  • Assume remote, even if you have only 1 person that is not coming to the office. So make sure to share all the information from meetings in a written format.
  • Have a private, quiet, dedicated space for working in your home. Preferably with a door that closes.
  • Have the right digital equipment.
  • Over-communicate.
  • Make sure you get to actual meet your colleagues face to face.
  • Have a time overlap with your team.

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Daily Morning Huddle with Coffee Chats

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Communication Tools

To make your remote workers really feel connected, use instantaneous messaging tools that organize conversations into customizable channels. You should also create channels that allow your remote workers to chat about topics unrelated to work so they can benefit from the social aspects of work and strengthen their bonds. 

Hold Weekly Video Meetings

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Clear communication

The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.

To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.

Treat it like a real job
  • Don't lounge around in your pajamas. Treat it like a real job.
  • Create a space exclusively for work that is removed from distractions, just like you would at your office desk.
  • Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand when you're 'at work.'
  • Bookend your day. If you can't enter and leave a physical office that creates more precise boundaries, use psychological transitions like a 20-minute coffee in the morning, then exercise right after work.

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