My name is Dani & I’m a Work From Home wanker.
There are so many things wrong with that statement that many of us have had to admit recently, but the worst one for me is that I’m genuinely loving working from home!
This makes me feel so guilty & insensitive for even feeling it let alone for saying it aloud. Especially when so many of us in the same situation are suffering with cabin fever, loneliness, peer pressure, anxiety.
Maybe I’m wearing rose tinted glasses or maybe I just cracked under the pressure of being a key worker that anything even slightly less terrifying than being exposed to potential illness at every turn seems like a win. But I feel lucky to be able to still earn a full-time wage from the comfort of my own lil makeshift office.
I save money because I don’t have to pay for petrol & parking, I feel more well rested because I get an extra hour in bed in the morning, I have more family time because I don’t have to contend with the rush hour commute to the office. I probably even chat more to my colleagues now via Whatsapp & Teams than when we were still in the office observing the social distancing rules.
Living At Work
However, that fine line between being “at work” & being “at home” is, at best, becoming increasingly blurred but, at worst, simply non-existent.
For example, I typed up my last blog post on my work computer during my lunch breaks, wearing my fluffy flamingo slippers with an empty bottle of Brothers cider left on my desk from a long distance video drink with my brother. And that is helpful for neither Day Job Dani nor Home Life Dani!
It’s not the end of the world, however, as I’ve been practicing simple yet ridiculously effective behaviours to keep work at work for that full on cosy wifestyle at home & I really want to share them with you:
1. Mug Shot
My husband spent £25 (!) on an Ursula mug for me & that has always been my “work mug” that I’m recognised for in the office.
Naturally, that beauty came with me when we were all deployed to work from home & I’m still using it as my work mug for specific 9-5 use; I have my umpteen mugs for my umpteen brews each day outside of work that don’t enter my home office & I never drink my breakfast brews etc from my precious Ursula mug.
It may sound silly but sipping tea from it puts me in my work mindset. Similarly, relaxing in front of the TV with a cuppa in my Flounder mug (because, of course, they all have some form of Little Mermaid link!) keeps that comfortable approach & homely feel.
2. Shut Up!
Like most, our home is too small to have a designated office so my WFH workspace is in our front room, which leads right onto our living room that we spent every waking moment in together as a family.
It’s a less than ideal set up but has an effortless solution that will put a figurative & literal barrier between work & home: close the door!
Shutting the office door – or even giving it a full on slam it if it’s been one of those days – is a perfect case of “out of sight, out of mind” that allows us to leave the working day behind us.
3. Employee Excursion
Imagine how dull our days off would be if we spent them solely in one room. And that’s no different on a working day – the boredom & stress is unreal when we stare at the same motionless landscape aaaall daaaay loooong.
Spending all day sitting in our workspace, eating lunch at our desk, using our breaktime to Google something on work’s computer is an unhealthy encroachment on the work/life balance that can be shaken up in the most positive way with a simple change of scenery.
I’ve been enjoying spending my morning break on my sofa with my friends Philip & Holly (I know you know who I mean – you’re as bad as I am!) & my lunch in the garden watching next door’s cats tease the pugglebum. I find this really helps keep the work section of our home in the work section of our home.
Plus, with weather as gorgeous as it has been so far during lockdown, sitting in the garden feels as luxurious as taking an overseas holiday on work’s time!
4. Today’s Menu
Being at home for lunch & having the freedom to cook anything we like without having to prep the night before, like with our usual workday packed lunches, sounds some kind of wonderful… But it’s not.
Instead of using our lunch break to chill, chat & chomp & generally enjoy that little lump of time away from our job, we’re using it to make the painful decision of thinking what to cook.
Then cooking what to eat.
The eating what will shortly be indigestion after shovelling it down in time to get back to work.
So, an easy fix I’ve found to this is to just keep on keeping on with your trusty pack up box that you made the morning before work.
This eliminates the trauma (& I mean trauma!) of deciding what to eat when your break is already ticking away & gives you the full time to take a time out before getting back to the grind.
5. Me Time Is My Time
That daily commute & that constant feeling of “a wife’s work is never done” even when you’re on your day off, am I right?
Despite my daily shift only being 8hrs long, my working day could last up to 12hrs with the rush hour commute to the office & back.
I know for sure I’m not the only one of us feeling like a brand new person now that we only need to “leave for work” five minutes before clocking on.
All that extra time creeping back into our lives is such a welcome change, suddenly finding we have a spare hour or two to enjoy at either end of work!
Being able to enjoy that extra bit of unadulterated me time – whether we use it leisurely for a lie in or productively by nailing the hoovering before work – helps us make the most of every moment away from work & set that boundary between Work Me & Home Me.
They all seem to be such small changes that they’re not even worth bothering with, so insignificant that they won’t make the blindest bit of difference.
But I personally can feel such a difference already in not letting my work life bleed out of the workspace or work hours, all without having to move mountains to keep the two separate.
Let me know if these work for you or if you have any other tried (and) & tested WFH tips of your own.
Mrs Walmsley | The Unseasoned Wag x