Spark LLP has always been open to working from home. From day one, we were set up to work remotely with laptops equipped with secured document management and communication platforms. But as someone who went into the office almost every day, being asked to work from home has been a bit of an adjustment (and I’m sure a few of you out there can relate).
Entering into our third week of physical distancing, I thought it would be a good time to share some thoughts on this whole “working from home” deal. This post isn’t a list of top ten tips for working from home, nor is it a guide on how to stay productive with myriad distractions in the house, nor is it just for lawyers. This is about maintaining a positive and healthy attitude because sometimes, practical advice isn’t enough.
If you Google “how to work from home,” the same handful of things come up: “get dressed as if you’re going to work,” “set up a designated work space,” “make a schedule and stick to it”… the list goes on. Of course, this is all useful advice. But the optimal way to work from home is not a one-size-fits-all solution. I don’t need to simulate a work routine or environment to get into a work mindset (probably a carry-over from my law school days of preferring to study at home instead of at the library). So those tips mean very little.
Instead, I struggle with staying positive. On top of the daily bombardment of news and numbers on COVID-19 cases, I miss being outside, I miss seeing my friends in person, and I miss my colleagues. All of these factors lead to just feeling down and unmotivated. So, I’ve found that what I need more than anything else is a shift in attitude.
Whether or not you’re in the same boat, I present a humble offering of positivity tips to add to your arsenal of work-from-home strategies:
Pick Up a New Habit
Apparently, it takes on average 66 days to build a habit, but it can take as little as 18. It’s not clear how much longer physical distancing measures will be in effect, but you can take advantage of this time to build a self-care habit. It can be anything from taking up yoga to maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Choose something that you’ve normally been too busy or too tired to do when you get home from work. If you make it a habit now, it’ll make it easier to prioritize post-quarantine.
Find Joy in the Little Things
Not going to lie – I’ve been spoiled by having an endless supply of excellent coffee at the office. But now that I’m at home, I’ve discovered that the aroma of grinding beans, the slow pressure of plunging my French press, and the frothy sound of pouring a fresh cup of joe invariably brightens my day. Whether it’s spending more time with your family, being able to blast music while you work without annoying your coworkers, or perfecting your coffee ritual, appreciating the small details of being at home helps to keep a positive outlook.
Lawyers have the luxury of working from home. We can answer emails, draft documents, take video meetings, and even appear virtually in court. But not everyone is as fortunate. There are still folks who need to work in the essential services (like grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies… liquor stores) to sustain us remote workers, and of course, heroes in the medical profession who don’t have the option to work from home. So if you have a job that doesn’t require you to leave the house, please put that into perspective before complaining that you’re bored or stir-crazy.
The point is, stay positive. A little cabin fever isn’t the worst thing in the world, especially under the current circumstances. Having a healthy mindset is what keeps us going at Spark and allows us to run at 100% capacity from our home offices. Hopefully, these few tips will help you stay positive too.
Alex is a Lawyer at Spark LLP. Having joined the firm as its first articling student, Alex spearheads the firm’s video game and esports practice.