Life and Writing Advice is a blog series intended to help writers, editors, and freelancers learn from each other. Sometimes the most helpful information is knowing that we’re not alone in our experiences, that others can empathize with us, and that we can learn from others. We hope this series connects people and provides inspiration. Let us know your thoughts about our series or provide question prompt ideas in the comments.
For many freelance editors, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic probably didn’t change their work-from-home lifestyle. But for our in-house teams, it meant transitioning indefinitely from office life to an at-home environment.
We’ve been working from home since mid-March, and we wanted to provide some personal and honest advice on how we’ve adjusted to this change. If you or someone you know also faced this sudden transition, we hope you’ll find solidarity and comfort in what a few of our team members have to share.
Finding Relief from Burnout
For me, while the transition to working from home was not easy, it was a welcome change from the day-to-day of office life. Maintaining productivity was difficult at first because there are so many things to distract me. But at the same time, those distractions have proved useful.
When I feel burnt out, I can enjoy the distractions at home for a short amount of time to recharge my brain. I’ve also enjoyed going for walks around the neighborhood for short breaks during the day.
I recommend not being too hard on yourself and letting yourself enjoy a walk to the park every now and then or even a break to do the dishes so they aren’t a stressor in the back of your mind. When you take care of yourself, you do better work. So take care of yourself.
Focusing on the Positives
The mental transition to working from home was difficult at first. The game-changer for me has been focusing on the positives: I have greater flexibility in my work schedule, I don’t have to deal with a pesky commute during rush hour, and I can fully appreciate my breaks during the day by playing with my dog or getting things done around the house.
The bottom line is that working from home was hard at first because it’s not what I signed up for and not what I ever wanted. The good news is that I’m finding the silver lining. I’m using what would be my commute time to get extra sleep in the morning or to start my afternoon workout sooner. I’m spending more time with my family and pushing myself to grow and adapt to new situations.
Remaining Open-Minded for the Future
Working from home was really difficult at first, but after the initial transition period, I realized how awesome it is. I can pet my cats whenever I want. I save a ton of time on commuting. I can grab lunch from my fridge and eat while playing Super Smash Bros.
The sense of isolation diminished as our team got better at long-distance communication. These kinds of benefits seem like excuses at first, but after a few months, I’ve learned to love working from home, and the option to work from home is now a requirement for any job I take in the future.
Staying Patient and Informed
Working from home after working in an office for six years was a tough transition. I would recommend being patient with yourself as you change your regular schedule. It’s still a struggle even though everything is “okay.” I’m also trying to see the positives. I’ve always wanted to freelance edit from home and now’s my chance to see if that’s what I actually want to do in the future and how I’d handle that transition when it comes.
I also follow informative social media accounts that share positive updates about the pandemic on a local and global scale. This helps me to feel less worried or stressed about how my friends may be dealing with their work situation. It also doesn’t help me to ignore a huge global problem, so I try to face it head-on when I can.
Using Loneliness to Reach Out
When I first learned I’d be working from home semi-permanently, I was disappointed. I’d already been working from home due to illness, so I was sad I wouldn’t be able to go back and see the friends I’d made at the office. I also struggled with burnout and boredom because of the lack of stimulation that simply being in a room with other people brings.
As time went on, though, I got used to the idea of working from home. I then realized that I can go visit my family in a different state without having to use my time off! It makes traveling to see the people I love so much easier because we can all just work and then spend our evenings together, and my time off can be saved for things like camping trips, where I don’t have internet access.
My current strategy to stay sane is to focus on the positives, and I’ve been able to find a lot of them. What we focus on is super important to our well-being, so when I started looking for the good, I got a lot happier about everything. Good luck!
Being Creative with Socializing
One of the biggest changes I’ve faced with working from home is socializing. I’ve worked from home before, and it’s always gone better for me when I have a way to stay social. Staying in contact with others is important to keep up my morale and boost productivity.
Whether I stay active in our office Slack chat, set up a remote co-work session over Zoom with other freelancers, or just say hi to my roommate during my lunch break, I try to make time to talk to others throughout the workday. Everything is a little easier when I don’t feel alone.
It Gets Better
We hope this insight has helped our fellow writers and editors feel less alone during these times. It’s understandable that the pandemic has and will continue to affect how we interact with each other on a regular basis. However, we’re confident in your ability to stay motivated, on-task, and flexible in order to keep up with your goals.
Do you have any experiences or insights that you’d like to add? Tell us in the comments or on social media how you reacted to major work transitions and how you’re doing now that some time has passed.