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Tips on Being Happy While Working from Home

Nellie El Enany
March 22, 2020

We are now facing the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone is feeling anxious, disorientated, worried and generally uneasy. Workplaces are being disrupted to an unprecedented degree, and nobody knows how long this will last. Many of us have to work from home, and this in itself can be not only challenging, but also isolating and lonely. Social bonding is important, and many of us will miss out on interacting with colleagues, and for our faculty with our students too. So, what can we all do about it?


1. Work on your time management

Time management is crucial. One way to make working from home more productive is to break work down things into smaller tasks. With distractions at home, getting into flow can sometimes be difficult. Many of us are living with our families and pets. There are house chores that have to be done, and often those around us may not understand the type of work we are doing. Having short breaks is crucial, even if this means calling a colleague for a chat, checking in on students, doing a bit of housework or, in my case, going for a cuddle with my dog, and -- even more useful -- doing a few stretches. Staying physically well will help us all stay mentally positive.


2. Take up a hobby

Since many of us will not have to spend time commuting or taking children to school, we are not going out as much and, hopefully, this will conserve some energy. Taking time out every day to learn a new language, draw, paint, practice yoga, read or even just sit still and think. These little activities can help us disconnect not only from work, but also from all the news around us, which can get overwhelming sometimes. It will also help us =feel like we are achieving a task or end goal beyond work, making us feel more satisfied and happier.


3. Stay socially bonded

While we are not seeing our colleagues and friends as much, this does not mean that we cannot stay connected. Having regular check-ins is important, especially if you have elderly family members whom you are unable to see: Speaking with them helps them feel less isolated. I find that writing letters is therapeutic, even though I am unsure when I will be able to post them. Getting my thoughts down to a friend or loved one makes me feel more connected to them and satisfied.


4. Be grateful

Over this period, I am encouraging my students to think about one thing every day they are grateful for, even if this is having a warm shower or a clean drink of water. AUC has, and historically always had, a solid community that has stuck together during difficult times. Simply knowing that your organization and colleagues are there for you gives employees a sense of psychological security and elicits feelings of happiness. In current times, this is something that organizations need to strive to do more so than ever.

Stay connected, stay grateful and stay happy!

Nellie El Enany is an assistant professor in the Department of Management. Her research interests center on issues of identity, including identity construction, stigma, legitimacy and identity work. She also has an interest in the psychology of happiness in the workplace.