Covid-19 brings fear and uncertainty to the whole world including your home where we’re cooped up with the people we love who can also drive us crazy. 

Working from home is here.

Some want it. 

Some who do not. 

We can do this.

First, work at home with gratitude — consider that working at home is a gift. Yes, attitude does matter, a lot. We’re stuck at home and we don’t get to see other people. But at least you’ve got a place. Not everyone does. And to build your gratitude it’s good to help others who are struggling. That’s protective for us, for those we love and for society at large. It’s difficult to be away from friends and family but it is a manageable situation.

Working at home is a win-win. It keeps us safe and others as well. So, please take that fact with gratitude.

But even as you learn gratitude, look for ways to help in the larger context. It’s not all about your household and there are many ways to give or share to support people in need. You can give money, shop for someone else, or bring something you have to someone who needs it. This gets you and your perspective out of your house and not on yourself. That’s a big help in working at home. Don’t dwell on your problem of being housebound. Move into serving the community. It helps your attitude and the world too.

This gets you and your perspective out of your house 

and not on yourself.

Second, there are people in our homes. They are great, sometimes at least. Is there a spouse or teenagers or small children or a baby or pets or elderly relatives? Each of those has their own complications. Make room for each others’ needs — talk it out and take steps to adapt.

…there are people in our homes. They are great, sometimes at least.

In pandemic mode, people and pets in our household have been labelled “co-workers” with lots of funny memes popping up. Hey, what if you share some of those with your housemates have a laugh!  You can’t have the separation you usually get by going out to work with work now being at home. Your housemates have work, school assignments, hobbies, relationships and a variety of ventures they need to pursue as you pursue yours. 

Write a weekly schedule so you can share the internet connections effectively. Some things are set and some meetings could be scheduled around those. The internet has proven to be an essential service in the pandemic. Nothing is more frustrating than having an important meeting fritzing out as the internet is spread too thin among various users. It’s especially hard if you’re the one leading the meeting but it’s your internet that is not working well.

Give one another grace as you work and juggle commitments. We’re really not used to being cooped up together. Usually the kids go to school or daycare, and people go to work out of the home. But not now. 

I’ve seen a few memes that dogs love the pandemic because their people don’t leave but cats hate the pandemic because their people don’t leave!  Take the time to talk out any issues and forgive one another(and no, I don’t mean with your cats). Some people are introverts. Some are extroverts. Take that into account. 

…dogs love the pandemic because their people don’t leave 

but cats hate the pandemic because their people don’t leave!

No home feels big enough when you’re frustrated or angry with housemates. Play a game, do something fun together, laugh! Laughing takes a lot of tension out of a house.

Third, we need space to live and work.. How many spaces are there in your home that someone can sit, work, read, play, do a craft or finish homework? How can you make these useful and accessible to others?

Think about how we have designated spaces for so many things. We have bathrooms and bedrooms and kitchens and workshops and rec rooms in which we have particular activities. So it’s not that big a jump to designate or multi-purpose some spaces for work/leisure/online meetings in your house. 

Think about how we have designated spaces for so many things

A table in your living room or laundry room could become a multi-use space. A chair in your bedroom that is very private could be perfect for online meetings when you don’t want to disturb others or be distracted.

Flexibility is tough for some who might feel protective of their space. Work it out gently. Even if you can offer trades of space that could encourage others to flex. 

Clear spots where others could spend time. It gives options and helps beat boredom and feeling trapped. For example, we have a chair in our bedroom that is a comfortable place to read, have an online meeting or hang out (or put your feet up for nap). I cleared the space on the table beside it so the space is more useful to others. 

The kitchen table is a great multi use space for crafts, puzzles, homework, office work, board games and of course meals. But if it gets buried under one kind of activity it makes it tough for others to use the space. So, encourage clearing the space between uses. We are fortunate that our kitchen table has an extra leaf which we are able to put in. So, when it became jigsaw puzzle space at one end we were still able to fit at the other 2/3 to eat. 

You’ve likely thought of normal spaces in your home for people to use — living room, kitchen, den, rec rooms or bedrooms. But there are creative options that you might make work too. 

Get whimsical! Think back to your childhood fort-making days. You’d find an ideal spot, like a closet or under some stairs or a hiding place in the basement and you were inspired.  You’d think of what you needed to make your space come to life! It was your clubhouse, your studio, your play space or in pandemic mode, your office!

Get whimsical!

Strategically placed blankets, pillows, a snack and a reading lamp you had a fort — your private space! I know I can’t crawl into a pillow fort as easily as I used to be but some people could. Why not try it! The kids will beg for a turn and it gives them something to do. You could even have a fort building contest — keep it fun!

Think options — Is there a landing on stairs between floors where someone could sit. Or is the weather suitable to work at a patio couch or table? Is there a space in your basement that could take a chair, side table, lamp or maybe a footstool where those in your household could go for variety of surroundings or even privacy?

Be resourceful, whimsical and work together to find solutions to working at home. People can adapt their attitudes, relationships and spaces to so many things including this.

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Working at Home Without Exploding