Why you shouldn’t wear your pjs to work

Pulse Editor KAREN FORMAN reflects on the pros and cons of being transplanted to a very different working environment.

With the Australian Government mandating stage one of its Corona Virus shutdown in March and many schools moving to online platforms, many workers found themselves embracing available technologies and working from home to protect themselves and potentially others, from the Corona virus pandemic.

While ministers and elders throughout NSW and the ACT pondered ways to bring church to the people, the PCNSW’s Church Offices instructed its staff to start working from home instead of the Surry Hills office on March 24.

While it can be challenging, workers can take heed from physicist, mathematician and astronomer Isaac Newton, who had to work from home during the Middle Ages’ Plague.

Mr Newton’s university studies were interrupted by the scourge, which like Covid19 was a corona virus (meaning it came from animals – in this case, rats).

History tells us that it was while he was working from home that he developed his theories of calculus, optics, and gravity.

I have been working from home, partially or fully, since I became a mother over a decade ago, so the work-from-home edict during the corona virus pandemic hasn’t changed much for me.

Over the years I have created a routine that works for me. While feeling blessed that I have been able to work from home and spend time with my child, working from home does have its challenges and isn’t for everyone.

If you have found yourself working from home during the Corona virus pandemic, here are some ideas:

PROS

  • You don’t have to dress for WORK, but make sure you DRESS for work, because it puts you in the frame of mind for working and means you won’t get caught out in your pyjamas when you go live on video with your colleagues and contacts.
  • You get more done. Yes, those trips to the photo copier and coffee machine do take up more of your day, especially if you stop to chat with your colleagues along the way.
  • You get more time with your family and pets. Just be sure the cat doesn’t decide to wander across your monitor while you are on a video call.
  • You save on travel time (and costs).

CONS (with solutions)

  • You get more done. Sometimes too much. Getting into a working rhythm without much interruption, it can be all too easy to forget about life/work balance, both physically and mentally. Remember to take that lunchtime or after work walk. Set hours that you will work. Decide whether or not you are going to be available on weekends and weeknights and be strict with your boundaries. Reconsider sending emails at night.
  • Surrounded by family, hobbies, the great outdoors, it can be difficult to get yourself in the right frame of mind to work. I like to follow a routine on my “work days’’ of getting dressed for work, walking out the door and walking back in, ready for work.
  • If the housework isn’t done, it can be difficult to forget about the piled-up dishes while working. Do the dishes (or get the family onto it!)
  • It is easy to lose touch with your workmates and feel out of the loop. Be sure to send an email or an online messenger or phone call to your colleagues and just check in, not only on work matters.  There are some great computer programs allowing video calls so you can see your colleagues face to face. Ask about their health and their families, just as you would do at work. And pray with them.
  • The fridge may be too close to your desk. Watch your diet!
  • Sometimes where you work at home might not be a dedicated office. If you use the kitchen table or somewhere else in your house, warn housemates not to flush the toilet, shout out, or talk loudly on the phone while you are on your conference calls.
  • Sometimes communications can go awry. An adage I like is “the greatest barrier to communication is the assumption that it has already taken place’’. It’s important to communicate emotions that would normally be obvious in a person’s manner or face. Hence the handiness of emoticons, but don’t over use them. It’s not professional.

As published in The Presbyterian Pulse. Find it and more great articles.