PR WFH: Working from home isn’t remote working so cut yourself some slack

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If there’s a more divisive subject than working from home I’ve yet to find it.

‘Duvet days,’ were what an old chief executive sneeringly called them.

‘The future of work,’ is what I’ve also read.

Neither is right.

I was wondering why I thought that until reading a LinkedIn post by Eris Casali who makes the point that forced working from home is not the same as remote working.

Forced working from home is having to make the most of something. Remote working is finding the rhythm, tempo and a corner away from an office where you can perch to get the most out of your time.

Eris Casali works for Automattic, the company behind the web platform company WordPress, and she’s noticed that there’s been a dip in morale amongst the 1,200 workforce who are well used to working remotely.

She writes:

The reasons are many: anxiety, distractions, kids to take care of, other people in the house, no separate work space, no good ergonomics, stress, etc… So please keep it in mind. If you were forced to work from home, you’re dealing with two issues at the same time: one is the challenges of changing your work processes, one is dealing with the current forced situation. You’re not really experiencing the benefits of *remote work*.

What worked for me

I really started to work from home when I became freelance six years ago. The most valuable lesson was working out a time to switch-of by and sticking to it. Once I realised that my morale and my productivity recovered.

But if that doesn’t work for you, that’s fine.

Like prescriptive books for new parents, blog posts that show you how to work for home should be binned.

Do what works for you. Life is hard enough already without measuring yourself against a lifestyle blogger.

This is not the new normal

As we’re starting to get to grips with the temporary new normal and starting to reach for what the next new normal may be it may be tempting for people to think people can carry on largely with what they’re doing now.

That would be a mistake.

Elements of this may work for some people and some may not for others.

But even more than that, people need to realise that the dip in morale and productivity they’re almost certainly experiencing isn’t exclusive to them.

If the experts – and companies like Automattic are – then it’s no reason you are, too.

So, cut yourself some slack.

Picture credit: Flickr / Documerica

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