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Time moves differently when you're working from home

07 Apr 2020

No more having to get up early to fight the traffic or search for a seat on the train. No more hours wasted on commuting. Working from home is living the dream right, so why is it so exhausting?


One week into working from home, each of the MobileCorp team was asked to post one GIF on our shared chat that reflected how we felt about the week just gone. Overwhelmingly the posts showed manic busyness, frantic tapping at laptops, a feeling of utter exhaustion, and time flying or dragging -but certainly not behaving as usual. 

Time should be on our side, right?

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic there were many people who were telecommuting, remote working, members of global teams or working from home. They are the lucky ones who are used to all this remote collaboration and don't have a mild panic attack as they attempt to connect successfully to a Zoom meeting.

However, for millions more of us, this Covid-19-inspired, overnight WFH, is a whole new experience, and its taking some adjustment.

Pre-pandemic, when the office-bound thought about working from home it mostly revolved around things we wouldn't have to do.

No more having to get up at the crack of dawn. No more having to negotiate crowded public transport. No more having to get out of our pyjamas. All that time saved. All that energy that wouldn't have to be expended. 

So now, in our second or perhaps third week of WFH, why are we so exhausted?



Pandemic is perfect storm for WFH stress

Psychologically, WFH has become part of the whole unpredictable - 'why do we feel like we are in an apocalypse movie' - stressful episode that is the Covid-19 global pandemic.  

When we dreamed about working from home, we didn't dream it like this. The dynamics are all wrong. We imagined working from home would be freedom - from the tyranny of travel and from being bound to a desk. Now the opposite is true. We're not choosing to work from home - we have to work from home.

Instead of feeling like we have been the recipient of a privilege previously meted out to the trusted few, we are just grateful that we still have a job at all.

Which brings us to stressor number 2. The longer we work from home, the bigger the hit the economy is taking, the greater the economic slowdown, and the increased likelihood that we might be directly impacted with pay cuts or job loss. 

Add in pandemic social distancing, only leaving the house for essential purposes, and family concerns like elderly parents or having kids housebound and its little wonder that WFH is not the relaxing bliss we imagined.

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The show will go on ... the work will get done

First things first. Many people worry that they will be seduced by distractions and won't get the work done. Don't worry about that. There is plenty to worry about, without worrying about that. The work will get done. In fact, most people will actually work harder and longer at home than they did in the office. 

Think back to the typical office morning and how much time was spent - I won't say wasted - on the politeness, camaraderie and collaboration that is part of working in an office. We all get complacent about having other people around to lean on and we often interrupt the work of others or get interrupted. Then there is the coffee break or water cooler chats. And endless meetings...

If you are new to working from home you will find a rhythm and you will get stuff done. Your actual output may or may not be at the level you would usually achieve in the office. That will depend on your role and whether or not factors outside your control will impact your KPIs. Regardless, you will work hard, and do your best, and no one can ask more of you than that - even you.


Work to your own time and don't feel guilty about it

There is a rhythm to working from home, just as there is a rhythm to working in an office. The two environments may not run to the same tempo. That's okay. 

Some people who work remotely like to get up early and straight into the day before breaking later to eat. Others have families to feed and set up for the day, and need to start work when everyone else is sorted.

Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash time LI

Unless there is an expectation that you are working set office hours then one of the advantages of working from home is to work most efficiently, whatever that schedule looks like.

Similarly, we all work best when we take breaks, get moving, and look after ourselves. The time that we would usually take for ourselves no longer has to be in the early morning before work or early evening after work.  It can be going for a run or walk in the middle of the day, or stopping to kick a ball with the kids late morning. Whatever works.


wfh pjs


Step away from the computer

The greatest danger about WFH is not that work won't get done. It will be that work takes over. The number one tip for successfully working from home is to set boundaries and map out how you spend your time. 

When you are working in the office that is all taken care of for you. Now, you need to make a conscious effort to organise your day.

You may have the flexibility to set your working hours but don't let that freedom cause you to not set hours at all.

If you were to work late in the office every day or carry on working every night after a full day in the office, you would end up exhausted.  So...if you are picking up your devices in bed first thing and carrying them back there at night, the same thing will happen.

The temptation for distraction might be greater or less now you are at home. Acknowledge that and factor it in. Schedule breaks and take them.

Much as you would at the office, set yourself goals for the day - and don't be unrealistic about how much you can achieve.



Over all, don't forget the reason why we are all working from home. We are all playing our part to flatten the curve and stop the spread. We are not stuck at home. We are safe at home. 

Believe it or not, time is on our side. We just have to re-adjust to how we use it. 




Covid-19 Status Update: MobileCorp is operating remotely to support business continuity for our customers. We are continuing to process all Telstra service orders for new connections and hardware. Our solutions specialists are also assisting customers with a range of connectivity technologies.  For a current status click here

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