Remember the days when working from home was a luxury only to be enjoyed by the privileged self-employed among us? And even at that, most of us are here because we wanted more than working from home alone and less than a traditional office, finding our home in Ormeau Baths or another co-working space. As many of us have learned over the last year, going from working in a busy office environment to working from home, with many of us working from home alone a lot of the time, can be a tough transition. We can start to feel very isolated very quickly, particularly when all of our social interaction is limited and we’re suddenly spending more time alone than ever before. We find ourselves getting distracted by everything around us, household chores, calls that could have been emails, balancing childcare.
The good news is, we’ve been around these parts for a while and have gathered some tips and strategies for your to implement to make working from home more enjoyable and shake up some of the boredom or loneliness you may be feeling with your work from home set up.
Bring a little life into your space by keeping the music going on in the background. We once made fun of those who leave the radio on for the dogs when they leave the house but now we understand the dog’s point of view. It’s nice to have a little conversation and chatter going on around the house, even if it is just from the radio.
When working on tasks that don’t require too much brainpower – admin or replying to emails etc – try putting a podcast on in the background. Listening to them back to back throughout the day can get overwhelming. You either get too into the content and end up distracted from your work or you get to the end of the day realising you’ve not actually absorbed any of the information from those podcasts when they were something you’re genuinely interested in.
If you’re working solidly on more labour intensive tasks that require higher levels of concentration, Spotify playlists will be your saviour for background noise. You can go for something quite chilled or their office stereo playlist that will help to make the house feel a little busier and alive and recreate that background noise you would usually have in an office environment or from working in a coffee shop.
Switch up your working environment
Admittedly, this may seem slightly more difficult at the moment as we work from home for the foreseeable but there is still an opportunity to get creative. Think about how you split up your working week previous to the pandemic. For many of us, we may have spent two or three days working solely from home, spending the rest of the time in co-working spaces, coffee shops, client meetings, attending events and generally out and about so working from home 5 days a week doesn’t suit everyone. The lack of human interaction, living in and working from the same space, it’s all a bit much sometimes and definitely impacts our motivation and creativity in our work. What are your options with getting creative with your working from home routine now? If you have days that require more creative thinking – marketing plans, product development, launch cycles – can you work from a different area of your house or room on those days? Can you take in turns with housemates or family members to use certain areas for meetings? Or replicate the co-working days by setting up a video call with colleagues or friends where you all do your work together and hold one another accountable? Think outside the box. Sometimes all it takes is one small tweak to your routines to shake up the feeling of monotony.
Join online communities
There are some really amazing online communities out there. Options are endless with membership platforms, Facebook groups and event Slack channels. They offer a way to stay connected to others and replicate a sense of community we all miss. Have a look around for online communities in your industry or aligned to your interests and find one that works for you. Many are really active with plenty of conversation and questions going on among members and it’s a chance to share or get feedback on ideas, ask for help and even look for more work opportunities.
We also run a weekly Zoom call for Ormeau Baths members as a chance for us to check in with one another. Contact Jenna for joining details and times.
It can be a really nice break during your day to grab a cup of tea or coffee and dip into one of the Facebook groups or online communities, see what other people are working on or struggling with and recreate that feeling of having colleagues in our virtual modern-day.
Sign up for online events
One of the easiest ways to shake up feelings of isolation and loneliness while working from home is to attend virtual events. While it may not be totally the same as in-person events, it’s a chance to hear more and be inspired about the work others are doing right now and breaks us out of our own bubbles. You don’t even have to worry about being intimidated or dealing with the awkwardness that networking triggers in some people but it’s a powerful and inspiring opportunity to meet like-minded people, find your next client or inspire your next groundbreaking idea. Have a look at Eventbrite or Facebook events for any relevant virtual events going on. If one catches your eye, sign up and add it to your diary. It’s something to look forward to then.