There is a plethora of excellent advice available online aiming to help you stay productive while keeping a safe and healthy distance. However, I want to give you a slightly different take that will hopefully help to keep you sane or even happy as well.
The usual, excellent advice for working from home:
- Ensure you have an appropriate desk, your computer is at the right height, an ergonomic chair and good lighting (for those video calls too). It’s harder to work well if you are uncomfortable.
- Start your day as you would normally, dress for work (top half at least) and ignore your home tasks during your work time.
- Follow a schedule and factor in regular short bio breaks (rehydrate, bathroom breaks, snacks and lunch break).
- Stand up for some calls, stretch at your desk and focus your eyes off the screen to a faraway point to counter eye strain.
This is great advice, but I think you can plan your time so that you can be happier too. This approach centres on your work personality type and the kinds of tasks, interactions and creative opportunities that will nourish your needs and keep you content.
Work personality is an area that I investigate with people looking for a career change, especially if they are not happy in their job, or with students who are unsure about what area of work might suit them. I use career interest tests and career coaching to help them figure out where they would be happier.
In a nutshell, your work personality can be categorised using a 3 letter code with your major type and two minor ones. The six areas are Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. People with specific personality types commonly congregate in particular professions and if you chose your job not on interests but because you were steered in a certain direction, you may not be in a job that will make you happy.
Personality type and working from home happily:
Realistic – Realistic types like physical work, to work with their hands, or use machines. I would suggest that if you do not work in a realistic field, you should do an activity during your lunch break or after work like a strong physical workout, gardening, housework, bake a cake or the like, to keep happy.
Investigative – Investigative types are drawn to ideas, facts and theories. They would probably work well being left alone to work on a complex project without interruption. More than anything investigative types need to engage their minds, even in their free time, by researching or learning something new through an online course or perhaps to learn a new language. There are free courses and apps for both.
Artistic – Artistic types are the rarest but being forced to stay at home might bring about an opportunity to create something. If you have an artistic bent, this is your chance to create music, write your novel, paint a masterpiece, photograph indoors, in your garden or out a window or to work on a creative project of your inclination.
Social – Social types are the most affected by having to work from home and social distancing. They like working with people so they really need to factor in social interactions to remain content. Where possible, schedule regular video or phone calls. If that isn’t possible, they need to prioritise social interactions after hours, video dinners and game nights or just a catch up chat.
Enterprising – Enterprising types are involved in the promotion of products ideas or services. These marketers, entrepreneurs and leaders need to feel that they are still working towards their final goals. Working on marketing campaigns, business strategies, future direction, and networking can keep the juices flowing.
Conventional – Conventional types are happiest in a structured environment. They are most content to tick off tasks completed on a to-do list and work with detail-oriented work. They are the backbone of any organisation. It may be the right time for these people to catch up on all the odd jobs around their home.
We are all likely to have an affinity with some of these above personality type categories. But if you are unsure where to direct your free time while social distancing, try an activity from each personality type and see which you find the most satisfying!
Happy working from home from Maria Cordi, Career Coach and the CIRCLE|Recruitment & HR team!
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