The pandemic has brought many changes to how and where we work. The Blueprint Localization Team is one of many that has permanently switched to working from home. I have come to treasure the benefits this shift has brought me – improved productivity, more flexible work organization, greater autonomy, and to be frank, the great privilege to work in pajamas. But my perception of remote work has definitely changed.
Before the pandemic my idea of remote work looked something like this (dreamy, isn’t it?):
The reality for me and many others turned out to look more like this:
As the following graphic shows, for most employees and employers remote work is still seen as a very successful work model.
Remote work has been a success
Q: How successful would you say the shift to remote work because of COVID-19 has been for your company? (Responding ‘successful’ and ‘very successful’)
Source: PwC US Remote Work Survey
January 12, 2021. Base: 133 US executives, 1200 US office workers
But experience has taught us that working from home is not devoid of challenges. Despite the obvious opportunities and benefits for both workers and employers mentioned above, it can negatively affect people’s working and personal lives if we do nothing more than transport our work to our home.
In a culture that is always active many find it difficult to disconnect from work – even when personal and workspace are physically separate. With working remote the office always inhabits your personal space. The separation between the two becomes blurred and has often resulted in excessive workloads, longer working hours and insufficient rest for large amounts of people, with many negative long term effects on people’s mental and physical health. Caregivers are particularly often affected, as they juggle work, kids or elderly parents and household chores at the same time.
The Blueprint Localization Team is not exempt from feeling this impact, and I wanted to look at how we have dealt with these challenges. I have always been interested in health and exercise, and wanted to look at how other people in my team have taken charge of their health while working remotely and how new routines helped them to better tackle their everyday workload.
Romanian localization specialist
I have bought a VR headset and some fitness apps (Fruit Ninja, Beat Saber, Tai Chi), and I exercise 15 to 20 minutes a day, in the morning before work. I also go road biking 3 to 4 times a week, 20 to 40 minutes. Of course, that’s easier for me to do because I live in the Eastern Time Zone, and I start work at midday.
I also try to eat healthy, mostly steaks, rice, salad, and soups. If I notice I gained four pounds or more, I don’t change the type of foods, I just reduce the portions. I like pistachios and Brazil nuts as a snack, no more than 30 to 50 grams per day. During the day I drink 1.5 liters of mixed tea and herbal teas for fluid intake.
My secret: I eat the things that I need, not the things that I like!
My tip: Don’t neglect your inner radar. Be aware of the signals your body sends and act accordingly. Take breaks as needed.
Brazilian localization specialist
I started going to the Orange Theory gym in February 2022. Every morning for one hour, I run, row and lift weights. I work out with a coach. I feel that working out takes your mind away from problems because you have to focus on the exercises. It was hard to be consistent, but now I couldn’t do without it. I feel addicted to working out!
For my mental health, I go out with friends for dinner at least once a week, or just to talk. I try to be around people I like. Also, having to go out to bring my son to practice helps me get out of the house.
During the day I try to move, even if it is just for a short walk around the block.
On weekends I do social things, like going to parties or concerts – my passion!
After the pandemic I’m also finally back to healthy eating and go to bed earlier than before.
Italian localization specialist
I go power walking 1.5 hours every day, 2 hours on the weekend. I enjoy walking my dog on the beach. I listen to podcasts while I walk, which helps me unwind. I use Apple’s “Health” app to count steps.
During winter I lift weights at home because we have fewer hours of light outside. I use the “Nike Training” app for my workouts.
I use the “Calm” app to relax, or games such as Tiny Crosswords, Checker and Spell Tower.
To stay healthy, I eat vegetables both for lunch and dinner, meat two or three times a week and fish once a week. Strangely enough, I have shed 12 pounds since I started working from home, because I don’t eat snacks and I can cook more veggies.
After switching to remote work, I have much more time for myself because there’s no commute. I think that increased my mental and physical health as well as my efficiency.
Turkish localization specialist
I am a vegan since July 2022, when I moved to the USA. I couldn’t do it before because I lived with my parents. I do yearly checkups. I think veganism is easier for cultures that are used to home cooking, like Turkey. Also, Turkey has a lot of vegan dishes already. I didn’t have any issues finding the ingredients in the USA. I actually have more options here and the prices are lower too! I eat beans and lentils for protein, but I am not crazy about tofu. I don’t miss meat because I didn’t like it much before anyway. But I did love cheese and I miss the taste of the smelly cheeses especially!
Before Covid I did not exercise. But during the pandemic everybody was exercising, so I decided to start, and then it turned into a habit. Now I take a walk three to four times a week, for 45 minutes, around my apartment complex. I work out to YouTube videos at home, not to lose weight but to keep my strength and a good posture.
I do mostly cardio and some weights. I also swim every week in the summer in my apartment complex’s pool.
I am a people person, I am an extrovert, I feel better with people around me. During Covid I couldn’t see anybody and that was very challenging for my mental health. I used Zoom or Skype to chat with friends, I played online games with friends, and we had movie nights together via videocalls.
Some still consider remote work a controversial issue. But as my co-workers have described, many others have used this opportunity to adopt new routines to stay healthy and productive. The absence of an often stressful and lengthy commute translates into more time to take care of yourself and find a productive workstyle that fits you.