Weekday to weekend in a jiffyAll (washed) hands on deck as we “leave” our workspace for the comfort of the weekend.
In the midst of the pandemic, many companies are implementing voluntary or mandatory work-from-home policies. Even if you’ve done it before, working from home because of coronavirus might feel like a whole new world. It’s probably sudden and it might be for an extended period of time rather than a day here and there. But as you enjoy the safety of home, you can feel the days rolling into each other—and before you know it, it’s the weekend and you haven’t changed out of the pyjamas you put on last Thursday.
You’re still at home, wondering how to come out of the work mode and transition into weekend mode. For some like Aasha Pun, it is comparatively easy. A lecturer, Aasha has set up a ‘classroom’ at home. “I conduct online classes through Zoom. I’ve set up a separate working space where I spend my specific working hours throughout the week. During day-offs, I try to avoid spending time there,” she says.
However, not all organisations have a rigid working time frame. Some have working hours that depend on deadlines. Bonita Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO of Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI), says, “We don't have specific working hours so we use Trello app to set a task that needs to be completed by a specific deadline. But despite working remotely, we have agreed to treat weekends like weekends and not overwork ourselves.” So when the weekend rolls in, she puts her feet up and spends her time socialising with her family and playing with her pet dog.
If you’re used to going into an office each day, the separation between work and home is physical, and you want to try to recreate that as much as possible with a designated physical workspace at home. Hemantika Palikhe, an architect, suggests just that. “Setting up an office-like space—even if it is just setting up a table with your laptop, notebook, and pens—will help in making your working hour productive,” she says. The takeaway? “Do not work from the bed! You’ll end up despising the only corner you used to long for when you were in office.”
Manantuna Jyapoo, an Art Facilitator at Srijanalaya, is also working remotely. “The first two weeks were pretty crazy because it was all new to us. We’ve had to halt art classes due to the lockdown, but we’re now working on different projects from home,” she says. Like Aasha, Manantuna has also set up a space that she strictly uses only for work purposes. “I avoid sitting around the working space on Saturdays.”
Aasha also stresses on demarcating the transition from work to non-work roles through boundary-crossing activities. Putting on your work clothes, commuting from home to work—these are physical and social indicators that something has changed. You’ve transitioned from “home you” to “work you.” Try to maintain these boundaries when working remotely. It may be a welcome change not to have to commute to work, or to be able to spend all day in your pyjamas—but both of those things are boundary-crossing activities that can do you good, so don’t abandon them altogether. Put on your work clothes every morning—casual ones, of course, but get yourself ready nonetheless.
When your home is also your office, separating your work life and your personal life can be a challenge. And without that separation, it can be easy for work to start spreading throughout your home and invading the rest of your life, making it hard to disengage and spend time on other things that really matter. Not just that, working from home and stripped of our daily routines, many of us have found that time has become a strange and amorphous thing that can’t be defined by a calendar. What is a weekend, really, and is it even possible to have one in a quarantined world? The answer is yes! Despite working remotely, you are allowed to shed the weight of weekdays and get into your weekend pyjamas.
“Creating that feeling of space and cleanliness has to be one of the best ways to get into a weekend mood,” says Hemantika. “Shove the accessories to your work-life―your laptop, paperwork and any other odds and ends―in a drawer or in your computer bag. Those things don’t need to be seen in your life come Friday.”
You could treat the weekends like any other day spent in quarantine, but there’s something to be said for the mental health benefits of keeping them separate from the regular workweek. That said, it can be difficult to know how to go about doing that. The idea is to find ways to replicate the routines we had previously as much as possible to bring some normalcy back to the odd situation we find ourselves in. “You should relegate certain parts of your home strictly for leisure—namely, your bedroom. Sleeping in on the weekends will be much more attainable if you haven’t spent the previous week taking stressful video calls from your bed,” says Hemantika.
Carry on with your hangout plans as you normally would, but get drinks with your friends virtually or stream the same movie and watch it together remotely. If you are in lockdown with your significant other, hold your candlelit dinner at the kitchen table. Making these adjustments might feel a little silly at first, but you’ll reap the same social benefits that you would on a normal Friday night.