At a Friday in March, I had my last working day in the office. Adjusting to the new normal had been easy on many levels but after months of working remotely full-time there have also been some drawbacks.
I remember seeing my colleagues in the Department, taking a few books from a shelf in the office in which I was hotdesking and waving goodbye. I did expect us to be away from campus for a few weeks but certainly not five months and counting.
Working from home Day 1
At the start of the new week, I was excited. In my previous roles I always had to fight to work from home if I was even allowed to do that at all. And now from one day to the other, the University, like so many other organisations, decided it was safer for all of us to work from home. I still got up at the same time in the morning as if I had to leave the house but instead, I could look after my body and pain properly. I had a breakfast for the first time in many years as I knew I was in a safe environment at home- no commute that could turn into a hunt for bathrooms. Relaxed, I started work not feeling pressured into behaving like it was expected of healthy people. I could wear clothes that are more comfortable when in pain, have as many bathroom breaks as needed and leave the room if necessary. Also nobody questioned the food I was or was not eating. I used the lunch breaks to make food that I could never bring into the office due to the commute. After my day was done, I moved from the desk to the floor to do yoga.
Five months and counting
As the months past I realised that I was spending more time with work than ever before. I started skipping breaks and worked longer in the evenings. The more relaxed atmosphere at home helped my body to calm down more but the food I had experimented with left me experimenting more and more. Until I ended up buying gluten free ready meals such as pizza and burritos. I convinced myself I was too busy to cook and the gluten free meals worked just fine. I talked less to colleagues, scheduled less meetings and got tired quickly in each Zoom meeting I had to attend.
It has been a few weeks since realising this negative type of behaviour. Working remotely feels like a dream and curse at the same time. Last week, I changed my food shopping habits and started telling myself to end work at a certain time. I moved the yoga hour into the middle of the day and try to see friends in the real world more often. If we have to work from home for several more months to come, it is important to look after our health in the same way as if we were still working in our usual office space.