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Home is Where the Work Is

23 Jan, 2021 Shain Wiederholt Fluid Culture

Tips on maintaining a work-life balance when you’re working from home.

 

Everyone has an opinion on working from home. For me, it’s just a reality.

I was a freelance copywriter for nearly two years before joining Fluid, so I was excited to have an office again when I did. To my surprise, my new boss told me that I’d have to keep working from home for a little while longer.

Fluid has been working remotely since March of last year. Many of us enjoy it, and others don’t. As someone who has been working from home for a while now, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about balancing life and work when the two are now more intertwined than ever before.

 

Office Dynamics

 

Pro:

If the pandemic has done anything, it’s shown that people can be trusted to work from home efficiently. I knew people who weren’t allowed to because their employers assumed they’d take a nap or give in to other distractions. Now we know that’s not the case.

 

Con:

Before, it was easy to say, “I’m going home at 5 and going to be completely unplugged.” Now, office communication often continues into the evening, diminishing the time we should spend on ourselves and with our loved ones.

 

Tip:

Turn things off—Slack notifications, office phones, work computers, all of it. Remember that most of us aren’t saving the world from 9 to 5, so most tasks can wait until the morning.

 

 

Commute

 

Pro:

The time you save skipping rush hour can be spent sleeping in or playing with the kids, and all that money you save on gas can go toward, well, anything else. What’s not to like?

 

Con:

Many people rely on a commute to turn their work brains off and give 100% at home. No commute? No quiet time.

 

Tip:

Replace that commute time with something else to get your head in the zone. I like to listen to the radio or a favorite podcast like I’d normally do but do it while making dinner or cleaning. My wife and I also take the gas and repair money we save and put it toward hobbies that get our minds off work. For me? Metal detecting.

 

Social Life

 

Pro:

The time and money you save from staying at home is time and money you can spend with family and friends.

 

Con:

For those who base their social lives around work, spending so much time in a home office can be quiet, lonely, and difficult.

 

Tip:

When you’re working from home, you’re still part of a team, and that team relies on everyone being as in sync as possible. Tell those negative thoughts, “Bye, bye, bye,” and set a part of every day to check in with your coworkers. I love being part of a creative team that video calls every morning. During this “conclave,” we talk about what we’re working on, share some laughs, and just get to know each other better.

 

Family

 

Pro:

If you live with family, of course they’d be excited to see you more. What better reminder of why you do what you do every single day, right?

 

Con:

For young kids (and especially only children), the only people they know and play with are their parents. Who wants to play by themselves for hours on end, every single day? I know I hate explaining the importance of accurate timesheets to my four-year-old.

 

Tip:

Different things work for different families, but there are several options. My son gets to spend time with his grandparents while I work. He’s an only child, so his mom and I also alternate short breaks throughout the day to keep him entertained. Whatever works for yours, stick with it and have lots of patience.

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