I truly love working from home as a Remote EEG Technologist, but I also love being surrounded by peers, by family, by friends, just by people in general! When I made the decision to work from home full time, I had to weigh the pros and cons and decide if this was best for my family and for myself.
Just as everyone else’s lives, ours is busy. Filled with kids’ sports activities, band concerts, helping parents, volunteering, maintaining a home, and working full time. Working from home can allow some flexibility to be able to attend more events and be present in the moment, but it is also work. It requires discipline, boundaries, and some sort of structure.
How can we balance and separate our work life from our home life and remain focused? Here are a few things I have learned over the past few years while working from home:
Create your workspace
Set up your own private space and away from any distractions. Especially in our field, I find it very helpful to be able to go into my office, shut the door, and be away from the “noise” of the house. I can concentrate on my patients without interruptions, whether those be purposeful or not. Invest in a comfortable chair and fill your space with some décor that makes you feel happy and calm. I know some don’t have the option to have an entire room as your office, but still try to make sure to find a spot in your home that you can create into your own space.
Keep your area organized. It is easy to let those extra books, magazines, and articles pile up to become clutter. Instead, designate a spot, whether it be on shelves or a bookcase or inside a storage space and get them off your desk, the floor, etc. I have many ASET journals, EEG related books, magazines, papers and articles. Organizing these loose papers has helped tremendously with decluttering and organization. Dust your area often. As we all know, computers can easily accumulate dust! I feel more productive in a clean and organized space/office. I think most of us do too!!
Make sure your family understands that when it is time for you to work, you are working. That you are not available to help with homework or making dinner. Set up boundaries and rules. This looks different for everyone. I keep my office door shut while working when the family is home. They know that this signals that I am not to be interrupted unless necessary. When my shift ends, I shut down my computer and close my office door and it is time for me to focus on all things other than work. I am lucky to have that option. Keeping work and personal life separate as much as possible has helped me tremendously on staying focused and creating minimal stress.
Stay connected with co-workers. It is so easy to become “quiet” working from home. I know I have slipped into these moments more often than I would like to admit. In my opinion, one thing that helps make a good team is team bonding. Simply sending a good morning or good evening message to those working with you can be a form of staying connected. Be genuine and ask them how they are and how their family is. Get to know each other. Reaching out with just a simple hi, just may help make your co-workers day go from alright to great knowing that their co-worker is there for them; even being hundreds, if not thousands of miles apart.
Set a schedule
Set a schedule. Designate your working times, your family times, your catching up with friends’ times, your miscellaneous other activities and your “me time.” All of this is important and essential. At times, it may seem difficult to “fit” them all in but sketching out a schedule and adhering to it as much as possible, can help make it easier to make time for all the important people and things.
And finally, don’t just sit there. Get up and MOVE!! Throughout your shift, stand up, stretch, jog in place, have some dumbbells available and lift some weights or do some push-ups. I know personally, I bought an under-the-desk pedal exerciser that I use often while sitting. Getting up and stretching has helped tremendously with any tension or soreness I have had related to sitting at a desk.
I hope some of these tips were encouraging and/or helpful. Working from home has many advantages and few disadvantages in my opinion.
Written by Lindsay Malon, REEGT, CLTM