How to Cope With Working From Home

Q & A With an Experienced Remote Worker

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First-person-view of a lap with a macbook on it. To the left of the person?s legs is a fluffy black and white dog, to the right of their legs there?s a black puppy.

Since we switched our whole company to remote work, we all have been trying to figure out how to deal with the changed circumstances. For almost all of us, this is an entirely new experience, and there are, of course, struggles.

Fortunately, one of our colleagues has ample experience at working remotely, since she’s a freelancer and moved to Scotland three years ago. So, we thought we’d ask our copywriter Andie for some advice on how to deal with the challenges of working from home.

How do you deal with the lack of social interaction?

Scheduled remote interaction is your friend. Don’t wait for things to come up naturally — they never do— but make a conscious decision to set up regular phone calls and video hangouts with friends. Skype, WhatsApp calls and Google Hangouts work well for one-on-one chats. Zoom is great at handling bigger groups well.

Think about what you usually do with your family and friends when you hang out. You can have a virtual breakfast or brunch. You can both cook or bake while on a video call. You can hold craft nights, play your tabletop game remotely or play coop console games. You can watch Netflix together, and there are even options for doing pub quizzes remotely.

Your biggest advantage right now is that everyone else is feeling the same way you do, so they will likely be more than happy to make time for these interactions as well.

Do you find it hard to find dedicated times and places for work and leisure time? How do you deal with that?

I find getting into a routine extremely helpful. That doesn’t mean that the routine can’t ever change, but it’s good to have a reliable way to get your body and mind into work mode.

You could even keep your schedule the same as it was when you were still going into the office, only without the commute. Instead, you could use the extra time to learn something new or do something you enjoy.

Similarly, having a dedicated work area can be great. I have a desk in our spare room, for example. But often that’s just aspirational, and I end up on the sofa under a warm blanket (thanks to uninsulated Scottish housing) with my dogs.

I think it’s important to have a dedicated work area, but I also think that in times like these, it’s okay to fend off the chaos and darkness with a little bit of comfort and cosiness. 🐶🛋

What I find almost more important than rituals for starting work are rituals for ending the work day. That might be a (safe) walk with your dog, playing with your kids, interacting with your cat, having your workout, having a coffee or cup of tea or a drink on the balcony, etc. For example, nothing tells my brain that we’re done working like some hammock chill time with the dogs, but this is a highly weather-dependent activity for me.

A person, wearing a thick warm coat and a wooly hat is lying in a blue hammock in a garden. A fluffy adult Australian Shepherd dog is relaxing on her legs, an Australian Shepherd puppy is sitting on her chest. All three are looking at the camera.
Hammock time means Andie’s work day is over and it’s time to chill with her dogs Magnus (puppy) and Nomi (big fluffy one).

Now that I am working from home, I am wearing sweatpants. I only changed once into jeans for grocery shopping. They felt tighter than ever! So I stopped changing and also now go grocery shopping in sweatpants. How can I escape this circle of comfiness? Any tips?

Uh, bad news. I’ve been wearing sweatpants for years. 😆Maybe we need to change society and not our behaviour? Tight jeans and bras are clearly keeping us from being our best selves.

But for real, just enjoy your sweatpants for a while, and you’ll get to the point where you’ll miss having a reason to dress up — and then you’ll enjoy your nice clothes again. Just avoid putting on freshly washed jeans after days in sweats. It’s not fun. 😜

I do draw the line at going out in sweats, though. You want your home clothes to be corona-free, after all!

Working from home and struggling

If you’ve got any questions about working from home, feel free to send them over and perhaps we can help!