Finland has had the biggest shift to telecommuting of any European Union country during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey conducted by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.
Telecommuting, working from home or any other remote office, has become our new normal. In this shift towards telecommuting, we have adjusted to Zoom meetings, remote planning and simply staying focused at home, which has not been all easy. The shift has required some amounts of determination along the way. Below are some of my thoughts linked to this new way of working.
Determination and discipline
In the beginning, it was difficult for me to figure out how to get work done at home. It was especially challenging because I did not have a dedicated home office or desk space. I could have turned the sofa into a space for working, but the risks of turning into a couch potato were too obvious.
With some determination, I found a space that gives enough privacy and has allowed me to be productive.
Another of my challenges with working from home was how to stay active. Initially, my activity levels decreased and the daily travel got a lot shorter. Some days I would simply roll out of my bed and there I was at my desk for the online meeting. I did not have many excuses to get outside.
I had to finally push myself into activity by frequently changing positions, taking small breaks and stretching in between the meetings. With some determination, I actually chose to take a particular stand against sitting.
Telecommuting saves a lot of time. Time that I started to fill with work until I realised the impact this had on my work-life balance. The boundaries between work and personal life became blurred. Again, it required a lot of disciplining myself to get the balance back.
Setting up a work schedule and sticking to it, was the cure. I have found it useful to indicate when I am offline and when I am available for online communication. Scheduling after-work activities has stopped me from working late and logging into my computer during weekends. This has helped me to spend more time with my family, which is definitely valuable.
Overall, I believe that the shift to telecommuting has not changed work that much. The shift has rather challenged our attitude towards change and our determination to make things work. The crucial thing has been to find the mental strength and resilience to manage the changes.