Hey fellow Ravens! Are you enrolled in a Co-op program, or are graduating soon and beginning your job search? A popular type of job available to both students and graduates is the hybrid work placement, or alternatively, an entirely work-from-home (WFH) job. This became popularized during the COVID-19 pandemic, when all of us were urged to stay home. At the time, this helped prevent the spread of the virus, and now, a lot of employers have realized the potential in WFH arrangements and are taking advantage of it.
If you’ve never worked a job from home before, an upcoming WFH position can bring up a lot of mixed feelings: excitement (you mean, I get to sit on my couch with my cat ALL day?), nervousness (will I have the right setup for the job?) and even disappointment (will my job experience be as rewarding as an on-site job?). Rest assured, these feelings are normal, surrounding a new WFH job (or any job!). As someone who will have worked two years in both hybrid and entirely off-site positions before the end of their degree, I’ll go over some of my best tips for optimizing your work-from-home experience.
Working From Home: The Set-Up
While it may be tempting to vegetate on your couch all day when working from home, be mindful that this can affect your productivity and your mental health. Setting up a good workspace for working from home can be beneficial to your work and to yourself! If you’re lucky, your employer may supply you with necessary technology and ergonomic office supplies for use at home. Don’t turn these items down! Although a new desk chair or a second monitor may seem unnecessary to you now, they’ll be super useful for your health and efficiency in the end.
Even if your employer doesn’t provide you with new tech and supplies, there are many ways you can make the most of your work-from-home experience:
- Separate your workspace from your bed, and completely from your bedroom, if possible. In any case, make sure you don’t work in the same place that you sleep, or in a social area of your house! This will make it easier to turn on and off your mental work/rest switches. You’ll be able to work more efficiently and to rest well after work, too.
- Treat your WFH experience the same as you would an office one. Don’t roll out of bed at the last minute and work from your pajamas! While this is a perk of working from home (and can be a great treat every once in a while!), getting dressed and ready for your workday as usual can have great benefits on your mood. Looking good and feeling productive are great ways to boost your productivity and prevent you from falling into a rut when working from home. Wake up on time, eat a nutritious breakfast and put on some comfy, office-appropriate clothes. Your mind will thank you!
- Working from home does have its own unique perks! Make the most of your time at home by using your breaks for wellness. If you have an hour for lunch, use it to cook a nutritious meal from the comfort of your kitchen. If your lunch is shorter, meal prep the night before and heat up leftovers from the convenience of home. Use your breaks throughout the day to take a walk outside, fit in a quick stretching routine, or tidy up a part of your home you’ve been ignoring.
- Working from home can feel isolating. Aim to reach out to one colleague a week to chat, whether it be via messenger or over a quick Teams call. Building relationships with other employees can benefit you greatly in the future and help to lessen strain on your mental health. If you’re still feeling lonely, make sure you reach out to friends, family, or mental health resources in your community.
Hybrid Work: The Path from Home to Office
Working a hybrid model job has its own benefits and challenges. While your time working from home can follow the tips above, here are some hacks for benefitting from your time in-office, too!
- Meal prep for your days in the office! Make the most of your work-from-home time by meal prepping during your lunch or right after work, so that on your days in-office, you’re packed up and ready to go.
- Dreading the commute to work? Don’t! Use this time to focus on chores or personal growth. If you drive, listen to a wellness podcast in the car. If you take public transit, use this time to answer emails, review your budget, or listen to a guided meditation.
- Time in the office can be very beneficial for relationships with your colleagues. Working from home can be isolating – make sure to use your time on-location to the best of your ability by conversing with your coworkers and discussing work goals with them. Networking can be key to carving out a great career path in the future.
With the right attitude and the right tools at your disposal, a hybrid or WFH job can be just as rewarding of an experience as an on-site job. Go into your next career step with a smile on your face and the goal to thrive! Take care of yourself, Ravens, and you’ll do amazing things wherever you end up.
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