Locked down – how to survive Home Office (2)

Julie Ann Chan
24. April 2020

A few days ago we took a look at how our team here at DreiKreis manages their days in Home Office. A clear framework for living with your loved ones is key when quarantined together. Structuring your day can also help both productivity and keeping sane if you live alone. Today, we present how our team faces additional challenges, especially unwinding after work and dealing with the emotional repercussions of isolation.

Afterwork – when does that start in Home Office?

Unplugging after work can be a challenge for some, especially if they can’t physically leave the office to travel home. But how do you define an end to your workday and find time for yourself? I suggest you find your own ritual to help you transition from work to private life. This might be going for a walk, exercising or reading a newspaper, magazine or book – as long as it isn’t work-related. I have spoken to account manager, Martina Moser, about her experience.

„My daily routine hasn‘t much changed since the beginning of Corona”, Martina says. “I stick to a fairly clear structure, start at a similar time every day, with the only difference that I make my calls from the kitchen table instead of the office desk. The less formal atmosphere is an advantage for me and if I have no video conference scheduled, I allow myself to wear tracksuit bottoms,” she smiles.
Home Office seems to be no problem for the account manager. But when asked about calling it a day, she confides: “I have a bit of trouble switching myself off. Even when I close the laptop and start doing private activities I find myself checking my mobile phone for emails or calls.”
Especially now, with the additional strain of uncertainty and restrictions, it is vital to look after yourself. Unwind, concentrate on your life outside of work, as limited as that may currently be, give yourself a treat!

Wie wir das Home Office meistern 2
It is vital to look after yourself – make sure to unwind after your workday is over.

Being isolated, feeling lonely?

We haven’t chosen isolation. It does not however mean that we have to feel lonely. Of course, it may be difficult and possibly inadvisable to recreate a constant conversation with your office neighbour. But why not set up a WhatsApp group chat and think of little challenges to motivate each other. Share funny videos or jokes to keep morale and productivity high. Sometimes it can even be helpful to let a Skype conversation run without having a chat. That way, you may feel more involved and part a dynamic workspace.

Even though Home Office has always been an option for DreiKreis-staff, most of us have usually preferred to come into the office in Invalidenstraße.
“I enjoy working from home”, Kathrin Schönfelder, assistant to the director and part of the content team, shares, “I save myself the commute, which is great, and there are plenty of other positive aspects! However, I miss working in the ’office atmosphere’ and seeing my colleagues.”
Kathrin concedes, she needed a while to find her Home Office motivation. “It‘s not been easy to deal with the situation. For many of us it is a struggle. Then I discovered the Pomodoro Technique: I concentrate for 25 minutes on my work, then I take a 5-minute break, also from my computer screen. I often share my work intervals with the DreiKreis-team and am pleased whenever someone decides to join.“
On top, she keeps the team morale high, sharing fun facts via the internal DreiKreis-chat. “Even before the isolation started I have found that tiny incentives are a great idea and keep us all motivated as well as connected. Fun facts about cats, penguins or PacMan are currently even more appreciated. It makes me happy to make my colleague smile.”

More freedom, increased productivity, less stress

Having successfully dealt with the challenges of our involuntary stint at home, we may as well enjoy its benefits! Home Office veterans, like me, appreciate just how much work they get done in comparatively little time. Especially in the IT sector, where lots of jobs require strong attention to detail and long hours of focus, employees may benefit from the situation as working from home can reduce the amount of distractions. Chatting colleagues disturbing you whilst trying to concentrate? No problem whilst in Home Office.

I started Home Office during my law degree, where I found I preferred my comfy Hamburg flat for studying. The main reason for me to go to uni (apart from attending lectures) was to socialise. At home, it was just easier for me to concentrate and work effectively. That way, work was finished much faster and I had more time to go for a coffee or to the gym.
When I started working as a journalist and editor in London, I noticed saying that a substantial part of the work day in the office got ‘wasted‘ with unnecessary distractions. Luckily, my boss supported me to start doing my tasks freelance and to move back into Mobile Office. Way I travelled the world for a few years, before settling in Vienna. But even for DreiKreis, where we enjoy a generous office space, I work more than 90% of the time at home, Corona or not.

Instead of commuting in overflowing trains and buses, you might use the spare time to go for a run or walk before and after work. Added benefit: you may time and maybe even money as well as increasing your daily exercise.

Hardened Home Office pros enjoy working at all times rather than according to a fixed schedule and use the flexibility to create a work life balance that suits their needs. In addition, saving on your daily lunch and after work beer doesn’t only spare your budget. You can also take an evening to cook for the next three days and enjoy healthier meals, maybe as a joint activity with partner and family.

These are difficult times for all of us. And struggling against the unknown comes naturally.

Nonetheless:  The situation gives us a chance to unwind, refocus and go forward with a clear idea of who we are and what we want. From my own experience I know, that the severest blow can carry surprising potential for change. Weeks after having arrived in Vienna, six years ago, I suddenly found myself wheelchair-bound, not knowing whether I would ever be able to live normally or work for my keeping again.
I hardly knew anyone and was much more isolated than now during the Corona crisis. However – and to my surprise – I found that my outlook on life, things that really matter and myself changed. It was a hard time, but today I can say that it helped me re-centre myself and to discover that I need a lot less than I thought in order to live truly contented and connected.

Perhaps you have also discovered hidden treasures, found joy where you didn’t expect it? We would be pleased to hear your story.

Read the first part of our Home Office companion here!


DreiKreis has relocated into Home Office.
We are well experienced with Home Office and are still here for you and your requests.

Don’t hesitate to contact us anytime:
☎ +43 699 18 38 38 31
✉ office@dreikreis.at
or via  XING and LinkedIn