7 ways to reclaim the joy in remote working

A few years ago, during ‘precedented times’ (remember those?) we all harbored dreams of what remote working might look like. There were mid-day ocean swims, laptops positioned next to yoga mats, morning hikes and afternoon museum visits. We dreamt of a seamless fusion of our working and personal life. It was all going to be insta fabulous. However, the reality is proving different. Here we are knee deep in a pandemic, remote working is the norm, and the ocean swims are thin on the ground.

Remote working has been a lifestyle adjustment for many people, and some of us miss the office, and even, God forbid, the commute. There are reports of fatigue, exhaustion, depression ­­– but there’s also people who love it; people who never wanted to be in an office and found the commute soul destroying. As the pandemic continues to roll and remote working looks like it’s here to stay, we thought we’d look at a few ways to inject the joy back into the everyday.

  1. Shuffle music. Change up your music preferences, hand it over to Siri, and see how she goes. Find a new play list and bring the tunes to your work. Relax to something classical in the background or get up and dance to a different tune. Bieber? Britney? Try it!
  2. Furry Friends. Big or small they can make a huge difference to your day. Take a dog for a walk, play with a cat, cuddle a rabbit. Time with a furry companion is proven to decrease blood pressure and increase feelings of joy and connectedness.
  3. Makeover. Give your workspace a facelift. If you’re tired of making do on the kitchen table, maybe you could create a new office space somewhere else in the house with a little rearranging? Aim for natural light, a dark room can cause eye strain, and invest in some plants. Having a potted plant on your desk can improve air quality, increase your attention span and lower stress.
  4. Add more to your to-dolist. No, we haven’t gone crazy; ever heard of the saying if you want something done give it to a busy person? The longer your list, the more you get done. Now, surprisingly, may be the time to take up that hobby you’ve been thinking about for years. Learn Spanish, become a mosaic genius, start knitting (if Olympic Gold Medalists swear by it who are we to argue?). Whatever activity you’ve been neglecting, this might be the right time to resurrect it.
  5. Limit social media. We know it’s addictive, we’re scrolling repeatedly too. But it is not good for our psyche. Remote working means we have constant access to other people’s lives, and how they want us to see them. They seem to be the ones having ocean swims while we are drowning in a sea of emails. It’s all about perception, but unfortunately when faced with an endless stream of ‘better’ lives, our own can look pretty small. FOMO is a real thing. Don’t be afraid to miss out on some social media.
  6. Break it up. It’s really important to have clear breaks. Don’t eat your lunch at your desk. Stop checking your emails at night. Finish work when you’re supposed to finish work. It’s hard not to take the office home with you when it’s already there, but you’ll benefit from making a clear divide between working and down time. You may want to consider changing outfits in the evening, to signal to your brain ‘I’m out of work mode now.’ Business casual by day, pyjamas by evening.
  7. Turn off. Be clear with your team when you’ll be available and when you won’t be. You will burn out being all things to all people. Just because you’re online doesn’t mean you need to be constantly on and involved.

There are lots of great things about remote working. It’s important to remember the fun parts, and to set clear boundaries for your working day and for the team you work with.