Working from home long-term?
When we started working from home during the pandemic, I thought it was going to be short-term. Now, it’s clear that I’m going to be working from home for quite a while, possibly permanently. What are some strategies I can employ to work effectively and not feel completely isolated?
Imitate the former. Seize the new. Be realistic.
To be effective, imitate the most effective workplace habits. Stay on the same schedule. Set up a similar work environment (as much as possible). Dress the same (not pajamas and sweats). In other words, to maintain your former effectiveness, stick to your former patterns. We are creatures of habit. So minimize energy inventing new ones, unless they’re better or your former habits were ineffective! But that would be a different story.
Working at home is unexpected but not providential. You didn’t ask for it, but it asks of you. Don’t lament it. Seize it. God introduces this new thing to bring forth a better you and untapped virtues. Amazingly, he works good in and for us through every circumstance – welcome or unwelcome. His orchestration is your motivation. Stir up your faith. Gird up your mind. Roll up your sleeves: “Here I am Lord. Use this to make me wiser, more diligent, more focused, more content, more productive.”
"The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.” (1 Thes 5:24)
Finally, Aristotle identifies three types of friendship – of utility, of enjoyment and of virtue. The friendship of employment is friendship of utility. We cooperate with one another for the success of our shared enterprise. That’s not to say that it can’t go deeper, but the focus is mutual gain. So be realistic. Don’t try to squeeze too much out of your work relationships. You can enhance connection via video, phone, text and email. You might also pick a buddy to compare notes at the beginning or end of each day. Though physical proximity has passed away, behold, the new has come. You can reduce isolation by connecting more with those near at hand – family and neighbors.
Speaking of neighbors, G.K. Chesterton once said: “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.” Hopefully, that’s not the case for you.