Mindfully transitioning to a WFH culture
If you and your team are facing significant adjustments to your working environment, you’re not alone. While there are a range of challenges — both practical and emotional — of working from home, there are ways your team can use mindfulness to better handle them.
Without in-person meetings, lunch outings, and even trips to a bathroom that’s further than a few feet away, the days can start to blend into one. It’s tempting to jump straight into your work emails, or even work later than usual because of these blurred lines between your “personal life” and “work life.” Skipping out on breaks from work to pause and reset can leave us feeling burnt-out and fatigued. So, how can you go about adjusting?
Before all else, reflect on how you’d like to use your time. If you normally have a long commute, consider using this time to move, chat with friends, or get some fresh air. Next, think of your calendar like a resource — both for you and your teammates. Calendars are our friends right now. Be intentional about carving out downtime in your schedule, and using your calendar to set clear boundaries with your team for when you’ll be away.
And remember, just because you might have more spare time on your hands doesn’t mean you have to “fill” it. As Headspace’s Director of Behavioral Science, Clare Purvis, puts it,
“It can be helpful to bring awareness to the urge to fill every moment with “doing,” and reflect on what we really need in a given moment, which may really be simply to rest and not do more things. Having compassion for ourselves is a key ingredient.”
Try this in your Headspace app: The Wake Up daily video, mini-meditations for quick breaks, or Everyday Headspace for a new meditation every 24 hours.
Many of us are facing unprecedented working environments — some of us in tight spaces alongside partners, roommates, and furry friends, too. Be curious, and open up a conversation about how this new situation can best work for everyone. Do your roommates need quiet so they can work? Can you rotate working spaces within the home? We’re all in this unusual situation together, and it’s a good chance to practice openness, curiosity, and compromise.
Try this: Communication meditation, Managing Conflict meditation, or the Relationships meditation course
On the flipside, you might be feeling isolated from working at home alone. Through a positive lens, your new routine can provide more flexibility and time to check in with loved ones. Try scheduling informal video chats with colleagues and friends, not necessarily related to work. Here at Headspace, some of our teams have set up regular video hangouts where "no work discussion” is allowed and encouraged. It's helpful to schedule and protect moments of social connection among coworkers, in lieu of those we naturally have when we’re physically together.
Try this: Reframing loneliness meditation course
We do our best work when our mind and body are at ease. Encourage your team to find a couple places at home that provide comfortable working space. Switch it up two or three times a day as a way of resetting your mind. Help normalize taking breaks from work or getting outside for short strolls: during lunch breaks, in the morning before checking emails, or even while on calls.
Getting outside isn’t feasible for all of us. Link your team to movement and exercise videos that can be done from anywhere. Headspace’s new Move Mode content includes a gentle 30-day Get Moving program to kick-off a new fitness habit, plus Quick workouts that range from stretching to explosive movements. It’s a great resource for teams spending time at home — no equipment needed.
Try this: Move Mode exercises, Mindful Walks
New work routines can affect our meals, too. Encourage your team to block off a lunch break to step back from technology and be present with their food. And rather than just grabbing the nearest food item, encourage your team to try to bring awareness to what nourishes the body, supports the immune system, and provides energy. Many of us are exploring the kitchen for the first time — consider creating an internal communication channel dedicated to cooking. It’s a great way to share tips and recipes while fostering community.
Try this: Mindful Eating meditation course
Working remotely usually correlates with more time on the computers or phones. While frequent tech use isn’t necessarily a bad thing, being in front of a screen can be physically and emotionally draining. Our minds need time to unplug from the digital chatter.
Here’s what our co-founder and former monk, Andy Puddicombe, has said on technology:
"I think most people would agree that the sheer volume of technology and digital chatter these days tends to interfere with our peace of mind. It's worth saying that the tech itself is not the problem, but rather our relationship with it and how we choose to use it. So we need to experiment and find out what works best for us. For example, bright screens late at night will inevitably stimulate and awaken the mind. I would discourage an 'all or nothing' approach to tech and instead find a way of enjoying the benefits of technology in a way that works for you."
Try this: Mindful Tech meditation, or Putting Down Our Phones advice from Andy
Working parenthood has its challenges, even when you don’t share a working space with your children. One tangible action is organizing shifts with the people in the household. Parents can use their break times to play a quick game or enjoy a meal with their families — a rare opportunity parents can get more of when working from home.
A regular mindfulness practice can help your team toggle quickly between work and parenthood. While mindfulness itself can’t solve the practical implications of our global situation, it can enable parents to be kinder to themselves, be fully present in each moment, and guide their children through this difficult time.
Read How to be a calmer parent on the Headspace blog
Children also face real consequences from this crisis with the change in their routines from school and activity cancellations, and emotionally from a lot of uncertainty. Mindfulness exercises help children navigate these challenges, just as it does for us adults.
Try this: Headspace for Kids ages 3-12, Parenting meditation course
Most importantly, remember that the entire globe is getting used to a changed way of living, and acclimation doesn't happen overnight. Be kind to yourself, allow your team the time and space to get used to this new normal. However you’re feeling, Headspace is here to help you weather the storm.