A whole new empty nest syndrome

A large proportion of us have now been working from home pretty exclusively for close on 6 months now and there have been countless articles written, tips shared and stories told around how to handle work while life is going on all around you. From kids sharing your workspace to do their home learning, to negotiating the best room to work with your partner. Even for those who were already working predominantly from home, there’s been a lot of adjustment and compromise. More companies every day are announcing plans to continue this way of working for quite some time yet, with Pinterest an example of offices being redundant.

There have been surveys conducted which tell us people are reluctant to return to the office routine of pre-COVID days, and most of us probably think we’ve adapted to some kind of new routine; scheduling schoolwork around Zoom meetings, sharing lunch duties with our at-home partners and figuring out the best quiet spot for those important online presentations. Things might even be starting to feel a new kind of normal, but just when we’re starting to get comfortable, things are about to change again.

Schools in Scotland have now already returned, with the rest of the UK opening its doors soon, so there is set to be a significant change now that there will be fewer family members in the house. While there may be some relief and even jubilation at the thought of handing schooling back to the professionals and having a few child-free hours, it does mean that we have to adjust and adapt to remote working yet again.

If you’re used to a house full of noise or the sound of kids playing, you’ll now be met with silence. You might be craving that peace and quiet today, but for some, it can be challenging, lonely and isolating.  

Now is the time to think about your working ‘home alone’ strategy!  

The top 5 tips for working from home alone

Build a new routine that works for you

If your early mornings have now become manic with the process of doing a school run, try to move your meetings to the sweet spot of the late morning/early afternoon. This relieves the pressure to multi-task and has the added bonus of keeping you busy when you’re most likely to be by yourself.

Remember to eat and drink

Now, this sounds pretty basic, but often we’re prompted by the needs of others to remind ourselves to refuel. Kids need lunch, your partner suggests a coffee, but without these subconscious clues, it’s all too easy to just forget to nourish yourself. So be sure to take some time out of your schedule to have a coffee and don’t forget to take your lunch break.

Take your work outside

Staring at the same four walls all day can quickly sap your energy and people often forget that working from home does not mean they have to stay indoors. Sitting outside in the garden or at a park, even taking quick walks as a break can do wonders to re-energise you and give you some much-needed motivation. 

Spend time with people

Outside of the cycle of video meetings, we need human contact. The importance of a morning conversation or someone asking how your day is cannot be underestimated, yet it’s the hardest thing to replicate in a remote-first world. Use your tech, have quick chats and catch-ups with your teammates and coffee buddies without talking about work. One important thing to remember – don’t feel guilty about it! Even though it may not seem it, this is a productive time; your mental health will thank you.

Speak up when you need to

Change affects everyone differently and if you’re struggling or just want to make sure you’re set up for success, then talk to someone. It could be your manager, your HR department or someone else in your digital office or at home. We all have a responsibility for our health and wellbeing and having a good source of communication is vital.

This is not just important for employees. For employers – this is a change for you too. Be ready for a workforce that’s adapted well to remote working to sometimes struggle now that they could be at home alone. Be prepared to look out for the signs that your people need support. This kind of leadership will define the top-tier employers of the future! 

If you’re interested in ensuring your employees have a healthy working from home dynamic, talk to us. We specialise in helping companies completely reinvent the way work gets done in a hybrid remote world. We do this by putting your people at the heart of change to create open, inclusive culture and future-fit digital workplaces. Talk to us about how we can help your business be ready for the new digital era.

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