So lockdown thrusted all of us into one workspace, a space we got used to keeping for private and social engagement. Without paying rent, our offices have invaded our homes and dining rooms have essentially become offices.
That’s of course, if you are privileged.
For many Namibians, having a dining room and much less a study is a far-fetched dream. But now we are here and with so many mouths to feed ( breakfast ), cleaning up ( housekeepers are working from home ), Zoom meetings and study spaces are all competing interests. Forget about the discipline which is required to continue meeting deadlines, reduce operational cost while resisting the temptation to take a quick nap.
So lets talk about what you can do to ensure you remain productive, your image remains intact and no one appears on a Zoom half-dressed, undressed or have any kind of weirdness displayed. Its important to try and keep some of your privacy. And in a time of economic hardship, do not pay too much attention to the pressure that may come with fancy furniture and beautiful interiors.
First things first – for you to be able to work, its important that you confine your work area to a specific space, but make sure its not your bed. Nothing productive will come out of that spot. If you can, try and work undisturbed with the ability to close a door. We all remember the Dr. Robert Kelly ( not RKelly) BBC interview which was interrupted by the unannounced entry of one of his kids.
But the essence is to work with what you have – if you have to prop up a cushion to support your back on your not so comfy chair, then do so. If you can, get a good work chair because as comfortable as that sofa may look, a backache is sure to follow. Keep good posture and do not slough in your chair. If you can, beautify your space by exhibiting a pic of two, add a plant as this is sure to improve your moods.
Even in a time of lockdown, and WFH ( work from home) do not take work home. In some cases it may mean the difference of three steps but leave your laptop, your notebook in its designated work area. That way you remain within the boundaries you have set for yourself. Remember for your kids, this may be the first time they see you at work and if they have negative perceptions about how work is invading THEIR world, they may resent work when its their time to pay the bills. Perhaps dress for work, if it helps you and when done – change into leisure wear to make the mental distinction.
Clean up for that Zoom call
Since you have time at home and I bet you are not busy eight hours of the day, how about taking time to clean up, declutter and prepare for the winter. It will help your house feeling lighter and it will create space for a change of scenery now that your house has become an exhibition piece. The quality of the environment presented on Zoom calls also speaks to your professionalism or your personal brand. So clean up.
While we are on the video call topic, find an area for these calls which are well-lit. In Namibia, we generally have good natural light, so why not make use of it ? You can even take your meeting outdoors provided you have good network connectivity and silence. Make the background as neutral as possible but try to stay away from a white wall, as this could really compromise excellent or even – just good enough picture quality.
At the end of the day, how your home feels can lift moods, increase your productivity and even allay the fear of the uncertain future.
And hey, don’t forget the joy of music.