Last week in The Working From Home series l wrote about Setting Up Your Workspace, this week in the second part of the series l am going to touch on the topic of Staying Connected.
Part 2 - Staying Connected
Working from home long term can be isolating at times, and is definitely not for everyone. I however, have managed to find that happy balance between working from home, and at the same time remaining connected to my workmates, family, friends and my community.
When I returned to Melbourne after living in Perth for 18 years, not only had the landscape changed but also a lot of my friends from those previous Melbourne days had relocated and were living their own lives. I was working for a company whose head office was in Perth and I therefore had very little face to face interaction with my work mates. I was also adjusting to my new life back in Melbourne and working from home and had limited opportunities to get out and meet people.
The only face to face adult interactions I was having was at the school gate doing the morning drop off and afternoon pick up.
Luckily, I met the craziest and most welcoming bunch of Mums and Dads from school. And just like greeting my workmates in the office each morning, it became a great way for me to start and end my work day with a good laugh, gossip and general all round catch up. I have regular coffee dates after dropping the kids at school, and it is no different to those “let’s grab a coffee” break I’d have back in the office with my colleagues. Energised, I am then able to get back to work and get on with the day…. just as l would’ve done when in the office.
Does your work have message or chat functionality?
Lots of companies have an instant message system which will allow you to communicate in real time with colleagues. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying hi and touching base with them just like you would in the office environment. Email can be quite formal and impersonal. A quick message and informal chat does wonders for the energy levels and mental state. Video call functionality? Skype? Use it! It doesn’t have to be all the time, but it can be just as good for others that you connect with to be able to see your environment as well as your face.
Lastly, l also got involved in my community, l help where l can.
When and if possible, I help with school events, l regularly donate blood and generally do what I can to be involved and support my local community. I assist on fundraising committees and help those less fortunate. I find it does wonders for my self-esteem and helps to keep me connected to the outside world but even better, it helps others. Many workplaces have volunteering time available, so take advantage of it.
In my next entry for the series l am going to discuss the importance of Getting Up and Getting Dressed for your day of working from home.