Many of us are over six months into a new WFH paradigm. With days blending together, new stressors, and (at times) unrealistic expectations of what we can give to our professional and personal lives, happiness at work can be a real challenge.
Asking a few fundamental questions may help us hit the reset button. Or, at a minimum, help us make small, incremental changes that can bring a little joy back into our work.
Do you know what motivates you? Six months in a quarantine can really change a person. It may be time to reassess what truly motivates you and how you define success and fulfillment at work. Make sure that what’s important to you now still aligns with what you do, where you work and who you work with. If it doesn’t, it may be time for a change, or time to change the way you structure your role and your day.
Do you have boundaries between work and home? When your entire office is WFH, it’s very easy to work 24/7. But we’re human and need to be disciplined about rest and balance. Communicate your availability to coworkers and adhere to those hours. Take breaks away from your desk during the day. All of this will help you feel less stressed and more grounded and excited about work.
Are you learning new things? If time permits, take a class to expand your knowledge or learn a new skill. Attend a seminar on how to be a good manager. Find inspiration and new outlets outside of work, which (ironically) will make you happier when you’re at work.
Is it time to meditate? Studies show that people who practice mindfulness and meditate before or after working hours feel more connected to and more emotionally stable at work.
Are you exercising? Moving your body every day is critical. You will be more productive, energetic and focused throughout the day. Heighten endorphins, raise spirits.
How’s your workspace? Dining room tables, laptops on laps…we’ve all been doing what we can to make it work at home. To the extent that you can, try to create a workspace devoid of clutter and distractions. It will improve your state of mind throughout your workday.
How’s the “vibe” at work? Do your best to limit exposure to negativity. Peers who complain or gossip are energy zappers. Spend time with folks who are positive and moving forward.
Are you connecting with your manager? Checking in with your manager takes a more concerted effort when you’re WFH. By continuing to touch base, you ensure that your contributions align with an overall mission, your accomplishments are visible, and you receive feedback. Even if you work autonomously, “face time” with your manager will bring more meaning and purpose to your role.
How can you grow your network? Networking in the time of COVID? Of course! Your professional network includes friends, mentors, advisors, and advocates who respect and support you in your career. Take time to nurture existing relationships and grow new ones. A sense of community is so important right now and will help bolster a feeling of worth and value.
Are you giving yourself a break? If you are a working parent, you’re most likely at the latest stop in the “school during COVID” journey. It will take some time to figure out what works best for you and your family. Give yourself a break and try to remember that everything is in flux (and there’s not much you can do about it). Remaining committed to work, but also acknowledging that there are times when things won’t go to plan, should help provide some peace.
Would love to hear what’s been working for you!