The Silver Lining to Working From Home

By Lauren Soave

With the COVID-19 outbreak, most offices across the globe are left unoccupied as workers flee to their work from home spaces and begin working remotely for an unknown amount of time. Fortunately, a lot of corporate services are well equipped to run remotely, with conference calls, work video calls, and touchpoints able to continue as normal. However, there are many aspects of the regular office space that the coming months will change (maybe for the better) including your schedule, your social life, your commute, and even how you drink your morning coffee.  

1. Use your new schedule to your advantage

Although it is recommended to maintain your regular schedule while working from home by beginning at 9 am, ending work at 5 pm and taking an hour’s lunch in between, there are certain changes that will come to your daily schedule while working from home, that are far from bad. Some of these changes include the sleep that you gain back from not having to commute, as well as the time you get back from skipping the socializing at the office coffee machine.

2. Learn New Productivity & Time Management Skills

Over the next weeks of working from home, this will be the time to stop and learn how to build productivity and time management skills, rather than letting your current working habits slide with your flexible work schedule. During this time, as a consultant, I am taking time to complete my Lean Six Sigma Course, while my co-workers are working through Project Management courses and self-taught VBA for Excel and Tableau in order to bring new skills to the client site in the future.

3. Find a new substitute for your morning commute

As a consultant based in Toronto, I have had my share of both commuting to Toronto from Hamilton (over an hour each way) as well as flying out on Sundays to the client site. While working from home, I have found more time without my commute to start work earlier, eat breakfast, get to my dinner on time, get my workout in or even finish my personal administrative work and house cleaning. Although many employees enjoy the routine of their morning commute, take this opportunity while working from home to use the time from your commute to catch up on your personal to-do list or build new healthy habits. Some items that I have been working on include my personal budgeting and accounting templates as well as cleaning up my work laptop to be organized and ready for a busy season in the future.

4. Reconnect with forgotten friends

It is obvious that social distancing will have a negative impact on our social lives in the upcoming weeks. While employees are told to stay home from social gatherings, the office dynamic that lacks while working at home is one that most will miss. However, while your work social life will lack for the next weeks, working from home presents the opportunity to catch up with old friends that you have not connected within a long time. At no other point in our lives, will everyone in the world be confined to their living space simultaneously, battling the same enemy? To make up for a loss of social interactions from work, take time to FaceTime old college roommates over your cup of coffee, distant family members and your friends that you met on last year’s vacation. Take time from your work relationships and uncover some of the relationships that you have missed for so long.

5. Enjoy your morning coffee

Whether it’s Starbucks or Tim Horton’s, most people fall victim to grabbing a morning coffee either on their way to work or throughout the day with co-workers. With most coffee shops closing for the upcoming weeks, it is a great opportunity to realize the benefits of waking up in the morning, making your coffee yourself and enjoying it before you start your day. This new trick can prepare you to practice better choices when you go back into the office later on. It is amazing the cost savings from not spending money on coffee every morning that you may realize as well as the time you get back by not having to make an extra stop on your way to the office. If you love the taste of your brewer, you can even pick up Tim Horton’s or Starbuck’s ground coffee to keep yourself in your normal routine at a fraction of the cost. This might also be the time to indulge in healthy eating habits such as making and eating breakfast as well as bringing lunch to the client site, rather than buying lunch due to convenience.