Independent from the region where you are living and if you have the luck to still have a job, chances are high that you are forced by your employer to work from home, where before it was unthinkable. Working from home is becoming the ‘new normal’ in lockdown times during this global health crisis.
For most of the people working from home is an advantage as they don’t have to commute and conquer a daily portion of traffic jams. For others the first signs of stress or lack of motivation may appear as they are not used to this kind of change in their lives. To stay healthy, it’s important to rethink the concept of vitality and how we can benefit from a good energy balance in these difficult times.
According to Tony Schwartz an American journalist and business book author who ghostwrote ‘Trump: The Art of the Deal’ once quoted: ‘Manage your energy, not your time’ which represents in my opinion a truly efficient lifestyle the best.
You can think in terms of the 4 types of energy – physical energy (quantity of energy), mental (focus of energy), emotional (quality of energy), and spiritual (force of energy). When you manage to regularly cultivate and refill all four sources you will be able to keep focused, remain motivated and productive during this crisis.
Schwartz wrote in his book about the fact that most of us are chasing the wrong resource: the hours in the day. Instead, we should better be focusing on the way we manage our energy.
For this post I wanted to make an analysis of the different types of energy and how these can help us in our daily work-from-home routine.
Your physical energy – how healthy are you?
Physical energy can be defined as the quantity of energy as a result of rest and renewal, health, fitness and nutrition. This seems obvious for most of us but many people (me included) struggle to keep the right balance when it comes to physical wellbeing. When I work from home, I tend to change my routine and go to bed later than when I have to go to the office. This because the time I am normally commuting, I can afford to set the alarm 30 minutes later and still be in front of the laptop at 8 am the time when I am usually kicking of the start of the workday. This could result in a lack of sleep which can cause difficulty to act with positivity or the work with sustained focus and purpose. The link between rest and renewal is important to keep your physical energy up to a good level so don’t fall into that pitfall. Building habits such as a daily workout, regular sleep, taking breaks during the day and drinking at least 1,5 liters of water during the day can help us to keep up our level of energy.
Your mental energy – how well are you focused on something?
To perform and deliver regularly and in a systematic way, we have to focus on our targets. This requires us to condition ourselves and to keep focused. Training yourself to focus and to keep up the level of concentration is like training a muscle, when we train more and consistently, we automatically get better. In a home office environment, it’s very important to keep focused and create habits like planning, working in manageable time blocks, take regular breaks or go for a short walk, go and prepare yourself a tea like you would do in the office and meditate are great ways to sustain mental energy.
Your emotional energy – how happy are you?
Being happy and experience positive emotions is key to perform optimally whether working from home or the office. While working from home it could be more challenging to receive compliments to fuel your positive emotions, good leaders regularly connect with their employees and provide that feedback and usual tap on the shoulder to fire up emotional energy. It’s important to take sufficient time to recover and refuel our physical energy, otherwise negative emotions could take the upper hand. Practicing habits such as daily gratitude, regular team appreciation and open communication to create the type of safety that allows teams to thrive and perform.
Your spiritual energy – what is driving you to do what you do?
What is forcing us to do what we do, what is the greater purpose? If you believe that the activities that you are engaged in are meaningful you tend to go for it with high motivation and perseverance, in this case you will likely be much more successful in meeting your daily goals. Doing what you do best, be passionate about your work, enjoy and have fun will be core values in daily practice.
If we can keep the right balance between the different types of energy working from home will for most of the workers the path to a better life with more flexibility to manage family needs and other important priorities. Studies also show that remote workers are happier and more productive than the regular office-bound counterpart.
What will happen after the crisis? Will workers be asked to return to the office? Will workers have settled themselves in this way of working and look for alternatives to keep working from home? Are they willing to daily commute to the office again? For sure it will be challenging times for corporate companies to manage this at best to keep employees happy in times where setting up a digital lifestyle business can be easy and much more flexible and react much faster to the fast-moving digital world.