Homeworking and Zoom: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly

Ah  yes, I would imagine a large proportion of us know all about this one! In the last 12 months, turning our homes into our workplace has been the normal. We have all had to adapt quickly to getting ourselves up and running, turning whatever available space into an office / meeting room / gym / studio / classroom… the list goes on!

And then there is the home-schooling. Well what more can I say about that? Different ball game all together there.

So let’s start having a look at what this all means for our bodies and brains.

The Good

  • More time with family
  • No commuting
  • Better able to juggle with times
  • Easier access to the fridge / cupboard
  • Can use of time for housework / chores

The Bad

  • Easier access to the fridge / cupboard
  • More time for chores
  • More time available for working hours
  • Less space / opportunity to move
  • Juggling internet time for home schooling and work
  • More expectations due to having easy access to the screen

The Ugly

  • No escape from work
  • Too much time in one place
  • Lack of motivation to move away from the desk / feeling obligated to do more
  • Stress over internet / devices / working spaces
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Loneliness / boredom.

So what does all this actually mean?

On the one hand, having the opportunity to be actively part of our child’s learning is a rare and wonderful experience, as long as they are responsive and it isn’t all to stressful! We also take away the stressful, time consuming commuting to and from places of work. And this is especially true if you had to travel all over the place regularly. Now meetings, training and much more can all be done via platforms such as Zoom. If you have children at school, the whole school run, logistics and timings are now taken away and we can put the dishwasher on knowing that it can be emptied before dinner time and not before bed. Not nipping out for coffee and lunch is also saving us pounds in both senses. AND we may even be fitting in more exercise and movement. What a win!

However, the consequence of that is we are at the desk for more, with more opportunity to keep going back. This is especially true if your set up is in a place where closing the door isn’t possible. What’s more, some workplaces may even expect you to do more because of it, and this can be particularly true for those that don’t have children. I mean what else are they doing with their time?

And then there is the internet argument – where are the hot spots, who gets priority over Zoom if there ae several going on at the same time? And as for watching Netflix and Zoom at the same time, don’t even go there! With the new home set up, there could actually be less room to move, and even less opportunity for “you time”. If you have older kids, chances are they have after school clubs and meetings too.

The feeling of being obligated to fill empty hours not working can then be taken up with doing household chores and jobs, instead of making that time for you. And of course the food storage is very easily accessible, meaning if left-over treats are lurking, will power will be put to the test.

Unfortunately it can get worse. All that poor work-space set up, extra fridge visits and general lack of movement only means one thing. Pain, discomfort, poor temper,  general frustration and unhappiness. There is a huge increase of upper back and neck problems, due to working at poorly set up work stations, and that’s not the fault of anyone, just the situation we are in. All the stress of juggling several balls, and/or the loneliness of not interacting and seeing people face to face really does take its toll. With all these feelings and discomfort, it’s really no surprise mindfulness and exercise are far from a lot of people’s minds at the moment.

What can you do?

  • Don’t push pressure on yourself! Number 1 rule by far. It’s easy to punish yourself by telling your brain that you SHOULD do XYZ, or you’re a bad parent/employee IF you don’t/do do ABC. Give yourself a break and a pat on the back for every day you get through!
  • Fidget. All the time. Set a timer every 30 minutes and then move. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stretch, getting out the chair, leaving the room, going for a walk or joining a class. Just move. Little and very often, every single day.
  • Find something to do during the day. Make yourself take a lunch break. If you have kids, try and have it at the same time. You can then use this to all break, take a walk, do a class, or just close your eyes and chill. Even if it’s for just 30 minutes.
  • Make time for you. 5 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what it is, but it’s all about you. Bath, shower, read, exercise, paint your nails, build something. the choice is yours.
  • Give yourself a break. You/we/I are all doing our best. What more can we do? Focus on the small achievements and wins you make every day and smile.

I may not be able to sit in on your meetings, and definitely not teach the kids algebra, but what I can help you with is movement.

If you want to get movement, but without the pressure of getting dressed or stress of kids bursting in – mine do it to me all the time – then please get in touch or jump in a class and let me at least help with building good posture and strength to help with aches and pains that working from home can cause.

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