Part 1: The Challenge of Isolation
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.
Brown paper packages tied up with string.
These are a few of my favorite things! - The Sound of Music
Life is all about the little things… the somewhat fleeting moments of joy that steal our attention from our overflowing inbox and the little red notification bubbles that can plague our devices. Although, if that’s the case, it sounds like you need a Rivvly RA in your life! It takes a lot of finesse to spin all of the plates between our professional and personal lives, but making small changes to our daily #WFH (workfromhome) routines can make all of the difference in overall longevity and wellness—mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is no secret that there are envious benefits to working remotely: no more rush hour traffic, working from the comfort of your couch in your favorite sweatpants, having flexibility in your calendar to keep up with other commitments or to travel globally, focused and uninterrupted productivity, staying at home with your children if you are a parent, and, of course, unlimited coffee breaks (can I get an amen!?). Honestly, the list goes on, but I have a point to get to. And that is, there are also real CHALLENGES to working remotely. The three most common are: Isolation, Time Management/Boundaries, and Workspace. But being aware and intentional can make all of the difference in combating these traps. And at Rivvly, we are ALL about being proactive and finding ways to thrive against the odds! Firstly, I think it’s important to schedule a chunk of time to do two things: to deeply REFLECT on your needs and to STRATEGIZE how you are going to address them. If you had a problem in an office/onsite job with a project or a coworker, what would you do? SCHEDULE A MEETING TO FIGURE THINGS OUT. So, that’s what you need to do! Schedule a meeting with yourself. Open your calendar, find an open slot to dedicate to this, maybe an hour or so. Write it in ALL CAPS and highlight it! Did you do it? GOOD. The goal here is to best address the specific areas in which you struggle with specific ways that will help you.
So let’s take a deeper look at these three common challenges and talk about some tips to inspire small changes in your routine for maximum impact. Up first: isolation.
We are social beings that crave connection and feed off of others’ energy. Some things just cannot be communicated in an email or on Slack (even with the ability to send silly emojis and gifs). When you work from home, Kelly from Customer Service is not “popping over” to chat for 5 minutes about her boyfriend. You’re not having cake in the breakroom because the Party Planning Committee got an ice-cream cake for Andy’s birthday. And you’re not getting called into the conference room because your wacky boss has a new company-wide initiative that he needs to talk about RIGHT NOW. (Kudos to you all who are getting this joke). Instead, there might literally be days when you don’t verbally say anything out loud to another human until 5 PM. And sometimes that’s okay. But being around others sparks essential keys to success like productivity, creativity, and emotional/social intelligence. Here are a few small changes you could consider:
-Suggest meetings be changed to video conferences instead of phone calls. Even though it’s virtual, there is just something about being able to SEE someone. And, it keeps you accountable to get properly dressed for the day (no messy buns and old ripped college tees). Both are major mood boosters!
-Schedule “leave the house” time in your daily routine to go out in public. Sometimes, just going on a Target run in the middle of your day refreshes your brain. You are out around others and you get a brain break. I’m an artist, and when I am working on a painting, I purposefully walk away at least three times while in the middle of it. Something might look a bit “off” and I just can not tell what it is until I look away and come back to it with fresh eyes. Obstacles in work projects are the same. Sometimes we just need that new perspective after an hour of scouring the $1 section for a cute coffee mug.
-Working at a coffee shop, a co-working space, a library, or just like… anywhere with free wifi and humans. Bonus points: Ask another work-from-home buddy to go with you that day or create a small group for other remote workers. Check out the “Meet Up” app in your area to network with others and find new peers.
Are you part of the #WFH workforce? What are your go-to activities to combat isolation?
Keep an eye on the blog for Parts Two and Three of this series coming soon!