THE WORKING FROM HOME ONE - Issue #17
Because WHERE we work has changed. Possibly forever….
Hello there, gorgeous readers!
I hope you are well and battling through these dark Autumn months. It’s lovely to see so many loyal subscribers - thank you for remaining with the newsletter - and to those of you who are here for the first time - welcome! It’s great to have you here and I hope you gain something from the newsletter :)
Tell me, are you working from home? And is it likely to be permanent? A lot of employees are now working solely from home with only excursions to the office for occasional meetings. And in some cases, this is a permanent arrangement. It can come as a total shock when the working from home loneliness and isolation insidiously creep up on you.
Having been aware of this aspect as a freelancer who is home-based, for some time now, here’s a trick or two I’ve used over the years on how to make working from home (WFH) more bearable.
Consider a silent Zoom/Teams with friends or work mates. I’ve known people who do this and it really does help in having someone there in cyber space - even if you don’t chat very often. How it works is that everyone logs in and starts their work as normal, and it’s so comforting to see other people’s faces in a corner of your screen, knowing you can start a bit of a chat, if you want. But there has to be one or two ground rules. Is chatting good for everyone or is it better to schedule a 10 min break or so every so often when everyone comes together. Decide this at the start before you all plunge in.
Set tough boundaries. It’s very easy when working from home how the “working day” structure can become a little blurred. Be mindful of things such as starting work before 8.00am when you’ve got a tough deadline, or adding another hour to the end of the working day just to “clear some rubbish'“ in your inbox. My friend, this is the start of the slippery slope. At the off, you need to decide how long you need (and want) to work and very selfishly abide by that schedule - don’t let anybody or anything distract you. This takes some doing, but trust me, after a week or two of sticking to these working routines, they easily become the norm and very soon you don’t have to think about how you’re planning your day. It just happens.
Start a co-working group. Being a freelancer of some years, I’ve used co-working groups for years and loved them. But, these were all in the city centre (Manchester) and although they were a bolt hole for when I needed a tad more company, I could never find any in the rural area where I live. So I created my own. It helped enormously that a local bar very kindly let us use their space to meet up in for free, with tea, coffee or something stronger available for a small charge and use their wifi. I’m pleased to report the group is growing steadily and I love it. It’s the mix of people that make the group such a joyous thing. We’re a range of freelancers and small business owners alongside a growing number of home based employees and it’s the difference in experiences (and the sharing of these experiences) that make me look forward to each group session. They’ve become such a positive of being home-based. And if anybody wants to start a co-working group (or, if they’re based within commuting distance of Holmes Chapel in South Cheshire and want to come along to our co-working sessions), drop me a reply to this newsletter - it will find me :)
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: How to Work Alone (and Not Lose Your Mind)
Originally, this book was published in early 2020, just before the pandemic, and dealt very nicely with perhaps the biggest downside of being freelance/working for yourself - working alone. Very quickly, gauging how many additional people would be tasked with working from home both during and after the pandemic, author Rebecca quickly updated it to include pandemic-specific scenarios and how to lighten them.
From the outset, it’s clear she is very used to working as a solo - she talks about a lot of aspects that those who are used to being ensconced behind a desk in a busy office hadn’t even thought about. And she offers sympathetic and practical advice to help chase away isolation in practically every situation. And she continually supports this by quoting scientific studies that have validated her recommendations.
As a freelancer of some years, this was a present from my husband to help alleviate the isolation I sometimes feel in working as a solo. I’ve read it through a few times and it’s my go to when I need a bit validation that I’m doing the right thing in choosing to work solo.
If you fancy having a look at the book, you can find it here. I hope it brings you as much support as it’s brought me :)
DOLLOP OF POSITIVITY
And so, as part of the usual “Dollop of Positivity” I bring you each issue, here’s a thought-inspiring phrase I came across some years ago. Basically, it’s saying stuff what everybody else is doing - don’t go constantly looking at what others are doing (a massive cause of feeling bad about yourself, if ever there was one) - focus fully on you and your goals and stay in your lane to achieve those goals.
In time, by training yourself to operate in this way (it doesn’t happen overnight - it takes practice) you will notice a certain lightness of being and a tad more confidence in the things you are doing.
I wish you success!
So, there we are, dear readers. Issue #17 looking at how to stay sane working from home. I hope it helped. If anybody has any comments or questions, please just drop me a reply to this email and it’ll find me.
In the meantime, I hope you stay safe & well in the darkening Autumn days and I’ll see you again in issue #18 on the 23rd November.
Till a fortnight’s time