For 20 years I’ve held a permanent part-time position in a corporate environment. In between this role and raising 2 boys, I also write some websites from home. Most days I’m in the office – but every now and again I have the luxury of working from home in my corporate role as well.
These ‘Work from Home’ days have always been an opportunity for a change in scenery, great productivity and a chance to focus on specific tasks with less interruption. The days in the office are full of meetings, hard work, laughter, interactions with peers and constructive conversations.
Now, all of a sudden, I – like many others – find that I am working from home every day. It wasn’t my plan, but it is my daily work life for now! So what happens when Working from Home becomes your ‘new normal’ when you weren’t planning to be a SuperWAHM? How do you make the most out of life in this unexpected situation, and thrive in your new work environment?
Here’s 5 ‘Work from Home’ Mindset Shifts That Have Helped Me
Tip 1: Accept change
Strangely, although change is one of the few constants in life – many of us have trouble accepting it! It’s really important to accept the change that has occurred. Whether you see the change as positive or negative, it is the new situation and there is no point living in denial, resentment or fear. By all means think or talk through the emotions that go with the change, but then make a choice to embrace the unknown and move forward positively.
Sometimes the changes that life throws at us can be the very making of us. An example of this that comes to mind is a colleague who was made redundant (with only a small payout) several years ago. When I spoke to him a couple of years later, he admitted that they had always been too scared to leave his ‘secure’ employment and try something else, but the redundancy had forced him to do that. As a result, he had embarked upon a new career and was enjoying life much more than before the redundancy.
Accept the change that is occurring and allow it to be a springboard for personal growth.
Tip 2. Set up a new routine
Routine is important. It creates some structure in our lives, reduces our need to plan and decreases stress. Even though working from home is different to working in an office or formal structured environment, it’s still a good idea to set yourself a routine. Each of us have different goals, resources and possible employer requirements, so each of us need to design our own personal routine.
Some things to consider in your Work from Home work day routine include:
- Set a work start and end time
- Get up at the same time each day and allow time to be ready 10 minutes before start time
- Shower, have breakfast and get ready for the day
- Set break times
- Set time for exercise
- Set time for household chores
- Don’t allow the home activities and work activities to merge too much
Once you’ve set your routine, try to stick to it until it becomes a habit.
Tip 3. Look after your physical and mental health
It’s really important to look after your physical and mental health. Even just remembering to take a short break every hour to stand up, move around and look away from your screen makes a difference.
It’s easy to become quite slack with exercise when work and home are both at the same place. Explore some exercises that you can do each day. Some people find it good to set several 15 minute exercise blocks during the day. Others find that morning or afternoon exercise works best for them. Whichever you choose, try to make sure you actually keep doing the exercise regime you have set. There are now also many (often free) online exercise classes that you can sign up to. These can also help you become accountable for doing daily exercise.
I like walking and cycling but I’m also in the process of converting my bike to an electric bike so that I can have some fun cycling in the evenings while also getting some exercise.
Looking after your physical health also has a positive impact on your mental health, so exercise is well worth doing.
As well has exercise, keeping in touch with friends, taking time out for yourself and choosing to be grateful provide a really good influence on your mental well-being.
Tip 4. Separate ‘work’ and ‘home’ while being a SuperWAHM
When you are working and living in the same space it’s really important to keep some time as ‘home’ time and some time as ‘work’ time. If the two are not separated then there can be a feeling of guilt no matter what you are doing. Guilt that you should be doing the other activity… Keep these two life areas separate and you will be more productive in both!
If possible also separate out a small area for your work area. Even if you have a laptop and choose to move around sometimes to do your work – just having a dedicated work area means you have a space to keep your work equipment and to help you settle into your work routine each day.
Tip 5. Find the benefits of the new situation
There are definitely benefits of working from home. Finding the benefits of being a SuperWAHM will help you adjust to your new normal. Make a list of the good points and on a day when your new work situation seems a bit of a challenge – pull out the list and remind yourself of the benefits.
For me some of the benefits are…..
- I can get up a bit later as I have no travel time
- I can help the kids with their Distance Education in break times
- I can put a load of washing on in my lunch hour
- I can set dinner cooking in the oven in between meetings…..
Even if it wasn’t your plan to be a SuperWAHM, embrace the challenge and adventure and allow it to be a time of personal growth. It could be the very best thing that ever happened to you!