How to Work Remotely, But Not Alone.
Getting the balance between work and home right.
The pandemic changed the lives of everyone, but there were shifts to the way we work that aren’t all negative. People recalibrated their sense of how to make time for themselves. We all feel a renewed gratitude for gathering together with friends and loved ones, and certainly don’t take that for granted. Many folks are still working from home, which has many advantages. Still, sometimes it can be hard to keep a work/life balance in this new WFH reality.
For example, a recent article from Indeed.com listed some Pros and Cons of WFH.
Pro: More independence. Con: Increased isolation.
Pro: Increased productivity. Con: Risk of overworking.
Pro: Increased flexibility. Con: Less “face time” with coworkers.
If you’re lucky enough to work from home and enjoy it, that’s great! But as the above list shows, you need to be conscious of ways to maintain connection and relationships with the other people who work with you. It makes your work easier and more collaborative and, importantly, keeps you top-of-mind when it comes to more responsibilities within the company.
So, what are some ways you can nurture those office relationships without going into the office?
PLAN TO MEET UP WITH CO-WORKERS FOR SOME RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY
Downtown Houston, for example, arrange to meet at Life Time at CITYCENTRE or GreenStreet for an exercise class. Or tee up at the new East River 9 golf course, part of Midway’s newest mixed-use development just east of downtown. Plan a Happy Hour get-together to test your skills at 810 Billiards & Bowling at GreenStreet. In West Houston, you could practice teamwork and exercise your mind at The Escape Game at CITYCENTRE.
ORGANIZE A LUNCH ONCE A WEEK WITH OTHER WFH COWORKERS WHO LIVE NEAR YOU
Find a private room or a big table at your local eatery. Talk about work, or not. Just spending time with folks who you have something in common with—i.e., an employer—will help you feel more connected. In College Station, for instance, try Juanita’s Tex Mex Cantina at Century Square. In Houston, the Daily Gather at CITYCENTRE is great for groups as the menu features shareable platters.
WFH, BUT DON’T FORGET THE TLC
The U.S. Surgeon General recently came out with a study noting how loneliness can contribute to mental health issues. So, whether it’s lunch with co-workers, moving to a hybrid work schedule or sourcing some camaraderie in a co-working space, if you’re going to work from home, find a way to build an active, engaged professional community for yourself outside of home. You, your coworkers, and your company will be glad you did.
ESTABLISH A “LOCAL OFFICE” AT A CO-WORKING SPACE
If you just don’t want the commute—but would love some company and collaboration—consider a co-working space that’s close to home. A growing number of remote workers are availing themselves of these offices, getting all the amenities of a corporate HDQ—snacks and coffee, an array of office machines, audio-and video-enabled conference rooms, and strong, reliable Internet—without the long, traffic-heavy drive. “We believe in the local community model so much we use the hashtag #WorkLocal in our marketing materials,” said John Herring, President of FUSE Workspace, with Texas locations in Houston at CITYCENTRE and Austin. “Our goal is to bring a class A office experience close to home. The great thing about our space is that there are other professionals in the building from a variety of fields. That strengthens our community and helps our members do business better. You just can’t get that at home.” Perhaps the “Cadillac” of co-working spaces is Life Time Work, with two locations in Houston—Downtown at GreenStreet and on the west side at CITYCENTRE. Combining the best of office amenities and networking events with a luxe fitness club, Life Time has a variety of membership levels, provides 24/7 access and offers 160 locations throughout North America. As more and more employees are finding creative ways to work remotely and still be engaged with the office, more and more companies are happy to support employees who want to work in a close-by co-working spot.