A Guide to Making Work From Home Work
We millennials are reshaping the paradigm of work. Four years ago we became the largest generation in the U.S. labor pool, and are now poised to comprise 75% of the worldwide workforce in five years. This means our collective voice matters, and we have spoken: We want to work from home. Companies seem to be acquiescing in this request, as evidenced by the number of remote workers increasing from 39% in 2012 to 43% in 2016, and more this year due to the lingering pandemic. But we can't rejoice just yet, as working from home isn't without issues. Its biggest downside is isolation, which in turn can lead to loneliness. And this can easily contribute to burnout through stress and depression. That's not to mention the need to adjust to a different working environment, as well as the difficulties in dealing with distractions at home. Overcoming these challenges can be daunting, and that's the reason why this guide matters. Put simply, the pointers below will help working from home millennials make the most out of this flexible work setup.
1. Set up a physical workspace
A CNBC guide on working from home highlights the importance of making a home office, as it will create the boundaries that will set apart our professional life from our personal life. It can be an actual home office complete with a desk and an ergonomic chair; but it can also be the kitchen or the dining room table. The goal is to recreate the feeling of going somewhere, as it can serve as a cue that it's time to work.
2. Find ways to socialize
To avoid feeling isolated and lonely, we must continue to connect with our family, friends, and colleagues. Before Covid, this meant going out for coffee, meeting up for a chat, or getting together at a local restaurant. Now, though, we need to get creative so we can keep socializing despite stay-at-home advice. We can start by leaning on technology to create group chats, organize virtual hangouts, and hold online meetings.
3. Take breaks
We oftentimes equate productivity to working long hours, which is counterproductive as that can quickly lead us to burnout. The antidote is to take frequent breaks, with Pain Free Working recommending that we take a 5-minute break after every 60 minutes of work to relax our body and stay alert. We must give our eyes a break too, to avoid eye strain, and we can do that by following the 20-20-20 rule: after 20 minutes of screen time, look at something that's 20 feet away for 20 seconds. These breaks will keep us productive throughout the day and reduce our risk of burnout.
Decompressing from time to time rejuvenates both our mind and body. And as Albert Oliveira discussed here in his blog on Decompressing, there's no one-size-fits-all way to relax. Whatever your preference, the key is to enjoy your moments of peace and relaxation. Those moments will refresh us, and get us ready for productive days ahead.
5. Plan every day out
Lastly, Dr. Thuy-vy Nguyen emphasizes the importance of structure in ensuring productivity while working from home. Dr. Nguyen, who studies the effects of solitude on people, explains, "Time spent alone is better if it’s structured.” So, we must put that structure into our workdays by planning each one in great detail. In this way, we'll know what we must do every single day and prepare accordingly.
Solely for nationalmillennialcommunity.com
By Irene Walker