Adjusting to Working From Home? Me Too!

If you’re lucky enough to have kept your job during this pandemic, you might be working from home – some of you for the very first time. Even when there isn’t a health crisis, working from home has its own set of challenges.

I know for me personally, it’s hard to strike that work-life balance because I no longer have the separation between my work life and home life. And I no longer have the daily rhythm that allowed me to schedule and plan my work. 

I’m lucky that I don’t have the additional challenges of taking care of loved ones or pets (though I’d really like a dog!). But there are steps I’m going to take to make my sojourn into being a remote librarian more successful.

Some Advice I’ve Found

With a little effort you can make your work from home experience a lot smoother.  

  • Discuss expectations – Work with your supervisor or your staff about what are reasonable times to be available for chatting, what projects deserve priority, and how and when to communicate.
  • Set and respect boundaries – Children, spouses, roommates, or your fellow coworkers might try to compete for your attention. Have an honest conversation with them about your needs. Similarly, you don’t want to be the reason why your children can’t get any homework done, or why your colleague can’t meet a deadline. 
  • Make a dedicated workspace –  By having a dedicated workspace you can trick your brain into shifting into “work mode.” Also you can gather all the things you need in this one space to make your work day productive.
  • Minimize distractions – Distractions such as a TV or even your email can keep you from accomplishing tasks during the day. I know I had to move my workspace because it was in direct line to my TV and I was tempted to watch the news. By switching where I sat, I have become more productive. I also close my email during times that I’ve set aside to work on projects.
  • Remember to be flexible – Interruptions will happen, so you will need to accept that. As you adjust to working from home, you’ll be learning a new rhythm of life with your loved ones and colleagues too. You may have to reevaluate and renegotiate some boundaries and expectations in order to work effectively.
  • Make time for some fun – Being kind to yourself helps you manage stress. Watch some funny videos, take a walk (maintain social distance!), or check out the latest eBooks and streaming media from BPL.

How Can I Work From Home Better?

There are plenty of resources to help you work from home more effectively. You should check out LinkedIn Learning through the Boston Public Library. There are a number of classes you can take to better prepare yourself for working from home and managing your time.

You can also look at some of these titles for inspiration:

The 8-minute Organizer

Organize your home with just a few minutes each day. This is something I need to do to make my new workspace more effective.

Designing Your Life 

Discover how "design thinking" can help you reframe the challenges in your life, and achieve work-life balance.

Extreme Productivity 

Learn methods for a healthy work-life balance by prioritizing efficiently and maximizing your time at work.

Getting Things Done 

This is a classic – learn practical advice about time management and goal setting.

The Productivity Project 

Follow Chris Bailey on his year long experiment in how to use your time intentionally and be productive.

Say the Magic Words 

Since communication is key while working remotely, use this title to learn how to ask for what you want.

Time Management 

Set achievable goals and eliminate bad habits that suck up your time. 

You Can Do It!

For now, working from home will feel strange. And that's okay. One last bit of advice I'd like to give is be kind to one another. We are all in this together.