Working From Home

In 2020/21 many clients spoke about the joys and wonderous flexibility of working from home (WFH). Stories of walking pets, cooking, food shopping and escaping to a neighbourhood café at lunchtime abounded. Clients became accustomed to being able to prepare special meals for dinner, get ahead on laundry and spend commute time wrapped in a blanket with tea or coffee.

Now in 2022 many clients are struggling with the format and are no longer filled with the joys of the flexible work-life although many have come to rely on it for childcare and child activity availability. Somehow the joy has diminished, and the bar for what is now considered normal for a WFH day seems set quite high for many clients. For many, this has become an additional stressor to be managed. Many are experiencing feelings of isolation and separateness from their teams. Some are feeling a kind of lethargy towards team events that they used to enjoy and a certain displacement from what was previously a source of comfort or for some an integral part of their social structure. “Our team used to go to drinks on Fridays each fortnight.  I got used to knowing good places to go when friends ask me. Now I don’t have suggestions to offer I feel socially uninformed. I liked having suggestions and opinions to offer.” 

Many are sharing that the WFH format has raised the bar on keeping the home orderly and talk about struggling to maintain the space that is both the living room and home office.  Many who have a dedicated home office find the space less inviting than the living space, so they feel less motivated and are less productive working there.

WFH appears to be here for good so perhaps the therapeutic challenge is to ask what we’ve lost and what we’ve gained from the flexibility and explore these in terms of our values. This is a conversation for couples to share which could make work-based conversations more meaningful. It’s possible that our expectations for ourselves in the WFH context are not shared or well understood by our partners, so perhaps these could be shared in a creative way that enhances connectedness and in turn, reduces stress. 

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