Working from home? Isolation does not need to be isolating!
So most of us over the next few weeks, if not months, will be working from home. This can be a huge adjustment. 🤨
Many of us are used to sitting in an office all day with a great deal of our attention being dedicated to work. You’re surrounded by your colleagues, you can have a laugh, work as a team and bounce ideas off each other in order to problem-solve. At home, there are distractions like TV, Netflix, your children, and just random Google searches. This may result in work coming second. You also don’t have easy communication with colleagues and the same level of interaction with people generally.
Working from home and being stuck at home during an extended period of isolation can therefore take a toll on our health and well-being (especially for those of us who are social butterflies). Being cut off from our usual people can create a sense of isolation and loneliness and it is an easy trap to fall into.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve made a few little adjustments to my day so I can ensure that I don’t feel isolated, and so I can stave off the ‘cabin fever’.
One small strategy and idea I’d like to pass onto my readers, is virtual coffee dates. Most mornings at work you might head downstairs or outside to grab a coffee with your colleague. Good news is, this can still be done but in a ‘virtual’ or ‘online’ manner. This morning I had a virtual coffee date with a good friend and colleague and it definitely allowed us to stay in touch, update each other on our lives and talk about the problems we are having with our research. Another benefit to having virtual coffee dates is it can also give you something to look forward to and give you extra drive to get up each day (something that is crucial when motivation starts to wain). Today’s virtual coffee date allowed me to discuss the structure of a paper I am currently writing, and will hopefully publish over the coming months. Having a clear structure that allows my argument to flow smoothly has been an area I have struggled with, I now have a clearer direction. An added benefit to today’s coffee date was that it increased my motivation.
Working from home and being in isolation does not need to be isolating. We have so many technologies at our disposal to keep us all connected during these difficult times. Provided you have a good balance and avoid excessive reliance on these online technologies (as it can be more of a distraction otherwise), motivation levels can be lifted, productivity increased and most of all, you can maintain good mental health.