The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on a lot of parts of life. As a result of COVID-19, lots of businesses have had to shift to allowing remote work. But a recent article from the AJC explains that teleworking might hang around in Atlanta long after the pandemic is over. We’ll explain why that is and give some tips for working from home. It’s something that could be long-term for a lot of people, so it’s something that we all need to learn how to do.
Will work from home in Atlanta last beyond the pandemic?
The pandemic has meant that instead of battling Atlanta traffic in the grueling city commute, lots of people are staying in and working from home. The reaction can be mixed – some people enjoy remote work, other don’t. The AJC article points out that some employers have realized their employees are getting more done by working at home. While in the past teleworking was not something that was really encouraged by employers, who feared their employees wouldn’t actually get much work done, the pandemic has forced businesses to adapt to remote work in order to survive. It’s a far cry from pre-pandemic times when employers might not have even had formal policies.
The AJC outlines some of the findings from an Atlanta Regional Commission survey. According to the survey’s findings, commuters used to work .8 days a week from home before the pandemic as compared to 4.6 days a week now. The survey also found that about 70% of employers said there would be more work from home, while 23% said there would be more full-time remote employees. (And 1 in 5 employers could reduce the size of the physical workspace.)
The survey also got a sense of some of the benefits and drawbacks of remote work, according to the AJC. Benefits included saving money, less commute-related stress, and more time to sleep and spend with family. On the other hand, drawbacks included difficulty separating from work during off-hours and contending with distractions. While the survey revealed that more people felt they got more done at home than less, it also showed that the line between home and work could get fuzzier for a lot of people. So, all in all there could be positives and negatives that come along with the future and work from home.
Tips for working from home.
Since it looks like working from home is going to stick around for a while, despite concerns employers have typically shown about work from home, we’ve put together some tips for working from home. As it’s looking like remote work could be a long-term thing rather than a short-term interim thing, keep these tips in mind.
1. Have a designated workspace.
You have to scope out a good place to set up camp. Pick a spot that’s going to be practical and, ideally, free from distractions. It needs to be a quiet spot. And the trick is to keep work to your home office space. That’s the designated “work zone”, so banish all work-related things or tasks to that space.
2. Create a schedule.
It’s also important to have a set schedule. Try to keep the same hours as you’d have at the office. Don’t fall into the trap of working during off-hours. You don’t want to get overwhelmed with work, and so you need to have some limits in place. That’s essential.
3. Take care of yourself.
You also have to be sure you’re taking care of yourself. Be intentional about getting exercise, eating healthy meals and snacks, and getting an appropriate amount of sleep. Don’t feel guilty during your off-hours for not working. It can be hard to switch your brain off of work-mode, and you might feel like you could be working more even during your off-hours. But remember, having time to rest and have breaks from work helps when it comes to recharging and refueling your energy.
(Another part of this is being gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about the small stuff. If you make a mistake or forget something, it’s okay. This is a difficult time, so cut yourself a little bit of slack.)
4. Try not to juggle too much.
While working from home, you might feel like there’s a lot going on. And you might be juggling a lot. Remember, you can only do so much. Multi-tasking might not be the route you want to go. You might fry your brain a little.
5. Have boundaries.
When you’re at home all the time, with both work life and personal life under the same roof, it can be easy to let the two intersect. However, it’s important to keep some healthy boundaries between the two. Keep your “home life” chores in your “home time” hours. Just pretend that when you retreat to your work hidey-hole you’re really going to the office. The world will keep spinning if the dishwasher doesn’t get unloaded until after hours, right?
6. Have time to take breaks.
It’s not a bad idea to give yourself the opportunity to get up and stretch every once in a while. Get up, move around, get the blood pumping a little. Having small breathers from time to time is a way you can keep your energy up. And it can be helpful to step away for a second and take a few deep breaths to relax if you need to. We’re all only human!
Whether at the office or at home, it’s important to know when you need to take some things off your plate. If work is becoming overwhelming, is there a way you could ask a coworker for a hand? You are a team, after all, even if you’re not physically in the same place at the moment. Likewise, if the chores are stacking up at home, could you ask the family to pitch in? Sure, the kids might have online school, but are there little tasks they could take on after school that would help you out? Nobody’s a robot, and we all need a hand sometimes.
8. Be social.
It’s also important to be social – safely, of course, given the pandemic. For instance, do video calls with co-workers rather than just emailing. Interact with your team – it’s easy to be isolated when working at home, but you’re still part of a team. You can also do video hangouts with friends in off-hours. And, of curse, hanging out with your family. Having social interaction, even the virtual kind, can really lift your spirits.
So, that’s what’s going on with working from home and the pandemic in Atlanta. The fact is that working from home is something that we all might have to adjust to and become comfortable with on a more permanent basis.
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