The benefits of working from home during the coronavirus pandemic…

Normally Sydney siders commute up to 4hrs each day to get to and from work due to traffic caused by slow inconsiderate drivers or your typical accident / breakdown. The infrastructure in Australia is about 60 years behind any other third world country, with narrow lanes, not enough lanes, over regulation, a smorgasbord of signs at each intersections rendering them useless anyway, frustrating right? well everyone feels that way, and so the luxury of working from home could actually prove more productive, allowing employees to remain calmer, think clearer, spend that extra time on a quick run in the morning, make an affordable thick shake from organically homegrown ingredients and best of all, not having to put up with “Hellen from work” (ie the narcissist who hides behind a big smile and fake laughs, but later on stabs you in the back).

As a single parent living just above the poverty line (ie Australian), I personally see this a blessing in disguise, I get more time with my kids, spend less on fuel, eating out, better for the environment and more time for my physical and mental well being! there a lot more benefits than we realise but you get the point. 

Wether you believe the coronavirus is a distraction to cover up a greater problem we face or genuinely worried you may get infected, the result is the same. This lockdown will allow us to break free from the everyday robot society we have been living for the last few decades and allow us to get back in touch with being human again. 

There is still some sort of element where some people think working from home is lazy, you’re not really working, but this cliche is about to change and employers really need to accept it sooner rather than later. People working from home are far more productive provided they can zone in without any distractions. Let’s hope this trend increases to free up our congested roads and allow essential services to continue functioning more efficiently. 

6 Anti-Tips for Working from Home in COVID-19

1. Find your own working from home wardrobe

You might have seen advice to ‘stick to your usual routine’ by showering and dressing in the morning – even including shoes! But as freelancers know, you can work perfectly well in pyjamas, underwear or ancient tracksuit pants. Work clothes are purely about cooperating with the social norms of a shared physical space. If you’ll be using videoconferencing to meet with coworkers, follow the time-honoured habits of newsreaders and focus your grooming on your upper body.

2. Pick one regular signal that you’ve clocked on and off

Use a designated platform for all coworkers to check in and out every day. And for yourself, decide on a mental cue that mimics the moment of putting down your jacket and bag at your desk, and picking them up to go home. Perhaps you can put on a particular garment when you start work, and leave it on your desk chair when you’re done. I have a ‘work cardigan’.

3. You don’t need to be a perfect, prompt communicator

If you’re feeling stressed by switching between digital channels, go easy on yourself. Human brains aren’t good at dividing attention – plenty of studies show that multitasking is a fantasy. Try checking notifications at set times or turning off real-time pings. Or shift your peak work time to early morning or late evening, when others are offline.

4. Identify your anxiety response and your coping style

We’re all freaking out right now, but people respond to anxiety in different ways: fight, flight, or freeze. These can change by the day, or by the hour. So try to figure out which one you’re doing, and how to align your working habits with your instinctive coping style. For instance, an extroverted activity addict might choose a fight response: elaborate to-do lists, starting up industry advocacy groups, or learning new skills. And they might feel frustrated if others aren’t following their lead. Meanwhile, someone in flight mode might avoid communicating and feel attacked by efforts to get in touch. But they might relish independent work.

5. Faffing about is okay

A lot of office time is not strictly devoted to working. You’ll head in and out for meetings and appointments, or have conversations with coworkers. You’ll spend time organising your workspace, or get distracted by emails or social media. Away from the office, it’s easy to feel you’ve got to put in the same hours, or even longer, to compensate for your lack of presence. If you find you’re getting your work done in half the time, don’t feel guilty. Well done, you nailed it!

But don’t beat yourself up for being lazy when faffing is only human, and the full-time workday is a capitalist construct. If you’re really struggling to concentrate, this could be your body saying it’s time for a snack, some fresh air, or some water.

6. Don’t force creativity just because this looks like downtime

How many memes have you seen recently about some famous creative who used a period of self-isolation to do important work? If starting a new project will help you cope (see point 4), then go for it. But don’t push yourself if you’re feeling wrung out. Neoliberalism wants us to always be grinding – to be productive, enterprising workers who adapt flexibly to even the most catastrophic circumstances. Reject that. Rest and stillness can be creatively fertile, too.

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