If you feel like a maniac from being cooped up when you work from home, don't worry; you are not alone. Here are five more tips to make WFH fun!
1. Reconnect with those you haven't spoken to in a long time. One of the benefits of working from home is you don't have to commute. What better way to use the extra time than to reignite your connections, both personal and professional. For your personal contacts, send them a text:
A) Text them you are thinking about them B) Text them what you appreciate about them C) Text them hello and that you would love to connect soon
For your professional contacts, send them an email:
A) Email an article that made you think of them B) Email that you would love to reconnect and hear how they are doing C) Look at their LinkedIn Profile and congratulate them on a recent success, post, or something else
Dedicate your former "commute" time to reigniting your network and create a process that works for you. For example, I carve out 5 minutes a day, where I reach out to personal and professional contacts. The fun part is you will hear from people you lost touch with, and you will feel great about maintaining or reestablishing your relationships. Several studies found those with social support from family, friends, business contacts, and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer. I committed to reconnecting with people when I launched my business, and it has been a ton of fun reconnecting with people that brought a smile to my life. The second benefit is I built confidence from facing something I avoided for a long time. Nothing builds confidence faster than facing what you have been afraid of or avoiding.
2. Schedule virtual coffees. If you were still working in a physical office, you would grab coffee with colleagues. Grabbing coffee is one of the best parts of a working day, and working from home robs us of this valuable activity. Therefore, we need to be intentional about creating the coffee bonding experience. I recommend emailing a colleague stating, "want to have a quick 15 min virtual coffee catch up like we would if we were still in the office? No agenda! I'd love to catch up and have a light-hearted conversation." Virtual coffee will be an energizer for both of you. Schedule a virtual coffee with someone!
3. Have fun at your local Starbucks. If you frequent your local Starbucks or your local coffee shop, get creative. When the barista asks you for your name, provide them with a unique name. I go by Thor, and you can tell why I have no muscle mass. For those fans of the movie, the office, I recommend going with the name Michael Bolton.
4. Experiment with setting boundaries with family. When working from home, family members may regularly distract you. I recommend using a stoplight system. Red, leave me alone. Yellow, I will be distracted, but I will try to listen. Green, I will give you my undivided attention. It is essential to establish clear boundaries. Here is where the fun comes in, if you want to experiment with another system, you can try something called RUF, resting unfriendly face. You might know it by another name, it has another name RBF, but this is a family site, so we go by RUF. RUF is when you look unapproachable and unhappy. Here is an example: If you have a RUF look on your face, your roommates, parents, or kids will not disturb you which will provide you with time to focus.
I've tried to adopt RUF but have the opposite problem; I have resting come talk to me for 5 hours face.
If you use RUF, proceed with caution because it can send the wrong message. On a serious note, I've had parents share their concerns about how their default facial expression may keep their kids or close family members from speaking with them. This can have serious implications for some people both personally and professionally. The best solution is to communicate with others so they keep from making incorrect assumptions. Please feel free to email if this is a challenge and you would like a few approaches to deal with this. I'm purely recommending this strategy as a playful approach where you might put on a scary face as your red light, a neutral face as your yellow light, and a funny face as your green light. My intention is light-hearted but I am also sensitive to the fact that RUF can have unintended challenges.
5. Stay connected by sharing with your team. While working virtually, you have more leeway to share light-hearted things. Consider initiating a sharing board where you share pictures, ideas, and more as a team. If you are the team leader, make sure to contribute, and even initiate sharing. For example, you can share memes (funny but professional), pictures of animals, pictures of food, pictures of your work from home outfits, or anything else that will bring a sense of team connection. I'll leave you with a video of the best cat ever. I hope it inspires you to initiate a sharing board with your team.
Go experiment with making WFH fun so you can concentrate for longer periods of time.