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The Future Is Here, and It’s Working From Home

The Interkom #WorkFromHome Series

“Keeping Up With a Changing World”

When you were younger and you imagined the future, what did you see?

I recall being a small child and imagining that we could travel to work via large glass pneumatic tubes, just like they had in my favourite children’s cartoon. I don’t think that one will come to fruition anytime soon, but thankfully some people throughout history have had much clearer visions than the rest of us.

In a 1926 interview with Collier’s magazine, the genius Nikola Tesla predicted the rise of smart technology. Every era is the modern one for those who live in it, but Nikola’s prophecy was far beyond its time:

“…When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain… We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

Fast-forward to the present moment, and Nikola’s predictions have materialized word-for-word. Depending on your vocation, you can complete your work from home as easily and smoothly as you could from the office, and potentially lower your stressors at the same time. Speaking from my own experience, being at home significantly reduced stress by lowering my exposure to harmful blue light, eliminating my commute, and allowing me to have more control over what I eat and drink every day. I also never had a penchant for water-cooler talk or office gossip, so the quiet atmosphere of my apartment with my cat colleagues, some music, and the occasional street noise was somewhere I knew I could thrive.

Stress reduction and more freedom aside, one of the most interesting developments of our transition to working from home is the newfound ability to move about unrestricted. Without a physical work location to incorporate into your decision of where to live, the sky becomes your limit. If people are given the opportunity to live where they truly want to, rather than only for convenience or necessity, it could have a profound effect on our social landscape.

Working from home doesn’t come without its challenges, however. Discipline must be exercised, otherwise you may find yourself in your pyjamas all day, having eaten half a box of cookies for breakfast (I try to limit those to 1-2 days a year…)

Here are a few crafted tips for keeping morale high while working from your home office:

  • Get dressed like you’re going to the actual office, and keep your routine. If you like to put on a little mascara or do your hair, keep that up like “normal” – it doesn’t matter that it’s just you at home!
  • Create a workspace that is strictly for work, otherwise your brain will associate it with leisure (this is like when your teacher told you not to do your homework on your bed, lest you get sleepy.) If it has a door you can close, even better.
  • Avoid too much clutter, but still fill the surrounding area with something that inspires you or sparks your creativity, such as a plant or two, your favourite framed quote, or a picture of you with your loved ones.
  • Don’t settle for a mediocre chair. Get yourself something comfortable and ergonomic – your back and hips will thank you.
  • Get an air purifier if you can. There are some shocking studies out there about the air quality of an average home, and things like allergens and mold can can have a profound effect on your cognitive performance.
  • Structure your day the same way you would at the office. Set clear deadlines, take breaks, make a plan for the day, and keep yourself accountable time-wise.
  • Log out, stretch your legs, and step out for fresh air and sunlight. This one is vital!
  • Follow the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds to avoid eye strain and laziness. Human beings are meant to look far and wide, so I like to choose the farthest possible point on the horizon.
  • Make sure you eat, preferably away from your desk. This sounds overly simple, but oftentimes we can get sucked into a state of hyper-focus without realizing it. Our brains need energy to be able to complete our work, so be sure to have a snack!
  • Change your clothes at the end of your workday to help separate your work and life.
  • Dedicate some time to yourself in the morning. See the sun, read a chapter of your book, or take a relaxing shower. This will help you stay sharp during the rest of the day.

Ultimately, making a lifestyle transition requires trial and error to find what works best for you, and this one is no different. Working from home is a luxury that I enjoy every day, but it comes with personal responsibility and discipline that we don’t think of until we’re living it. If you’ve struggled with staying focused and maintaining a work/life balance, I encourage you to spend some time researching other people’s success tips and seeing if you can implement any!

As we progress further into this decade and have more people working remotely, I wonder what new creations and innovations will be borne out of this social change. I have a feeling that even by 2025, many aspects of life will be unrecognizable to us. Whatever comes next though, I am grateful to be having a human experience in this interesting and pivotal age.

Until next time,
Petra