How to reinvent working from home and bring more joy to the ‘office’

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WATCH ABOVE: If you’re still working from home, your new routine may not be working anymore. Community reporter Morgan Black has more on how to shake things up if you’re still feeling out of place in your new “office.” – May 22, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed many people into working from home.

Now, many businesses are telling employees that they may be stuck at the home office for longer than first expected.

If you’re still feeling out of place in your new “office,” we have some ideas on how to shake things up.

Business casual

The daily check-in with colleagues can be brightened with a bit of imagination.

A Zoom meeting with Edmonton’s Kelly Hobson is one-of-a-kind.

“My boss showed us that we could use virtual backgrounds on the app. That planted an idea in my head and the next meeting I pulled out my robes and hopped across the pond to Hogwarts,” laughed Hobson.

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Kelly Hobson dressed as bacon. Courtesy: Kelly Hobson

Hobson has been working from home for the past two months and said dressing up is a great way to infuse a little joy in the day.

READ MORE: How to: Get gaming during the COVID-19 pandemic

“It’s isolating. It’s challenging. It’s really difficult. I’ve had my fair share of challenging days,” said Hobson. “I try to get up and move, connect with people as much as the technology allows, get a song on my guitar, get in a game of Solitaire to stop the bloodshot eyes.”

Zoom fatigue

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Many of our daily interactions with coworkers are happening virtually, which is a great resource to stay connected with a team, but it’s also creating burnout.

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Julie Georgas, with Zeno Group, has been studying how people are processing the pandemic and how values are shifting.

READ MORE: Zoom 101: How to host or join a videochat

She said “Zoom fatigue” can make video chats a bit overwhelming.

“There’s a lot of stimulation when you’re on a Zoom call. You’re looking at your face, the people, the background. It’s a ton to process.”

Georgas said if you’re feeling burned out, it may be helpful to schedule fewer or shorter meetings.

“Take a look if you need to have a video call. Could it be a phone chat? Could it be an email? Just be mindful that not everyone wants to be on Zoom all the time.”

Click to play video 'How to avoid work-from-home burnout' How to avoid work-from-home burnout
How to avoid work-from-home burnout – Apr 23, 2020

Make your space work

If we’re going to be working from home for the foreseeable future, it may be time to make a bigger change — like taking more time for yourself or relocating your office somewhere more comfortable.

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READ MORE: For some, working from home can cause ‘loneliness, isolation and depressive symptoms’

“At the beginning of the pandemic, we were trying to pretend everything was normal. They were getting up and getting dressed as they would for the office,” said Georgas. “I’ve noticed my team is more comfortable now. They are more relaxed and being themselves and they are finding what works best for them.”

Georgas said in some ways, people are working more than they ever have.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Preventing injury while working from home

“You wake up in the morning and the office is right there. We are encouraging our employees to schedule a walk or to have lunch. Do the regular things where you would’ve connected with coworkers. You need that downtime to be creative. You need to be able to find joy.”