You try your best to transform the home office (more like a desk stuck in the corner) into some sort of serene space. Hopefully serene enough to get a minimal amount of work done. You open the window, pick up the clutter, brew yourself some coffee, and maybe even place a plant on the desk. Yeah, that should be good enough. But time and time again, when you sit down to begin your work, your focus strays elsewhere. Maybe it’s your kids who need yet another snack or must lobby for one more hour of screen time or it’s the laundry you were supposed to switch out an hour ago, oh and you forgot to cancel the virtual yoga class you signed up for at noon but your boss just scheduled yet another zoom team meeting at that time. Isn’t that the endless cycle that defines “working from home”?
COVID has brought us many things, working from home being one of them. During the first few months of quarantine, it almost seemed like a nice break; working in pajamas and on your own clock didn’t sound too awful. After a while, that optimism took a dive as family members grated on each other and everyone started to feel trapped.
ModernWell member and freelance writer, Marissa Bader, found her three young daughters to be a roadblock in her level of productivity working from home. While their creative dances to Frozen or High School Musical never fail to entertain, they don’t make it easy for her to focus. “Even if we have a sitter, they just want me. They are constantly coming in and interrupting and wanting my time and attention. Then I feel guilty to say no.”
Not only is working from home challenging enough with all the distractions, but it also takes a toll on your mental health. Having to juggle the stress that already comes with your job and while simultaneously caring for your family and/or house is definitely anxiety provoking.
“I hated being so isolated,” one ModernWell member expressed. Feelings of entrapment and isolation that so many people have felt during this time, combined with the stress, fear and uncertainties of being in the midst of a worldwide pandemic have led many to feel like they are in an impossible situation.
Understandably right now, it’s not easy for many to “escape” the home office. Even if parents do have child care, once you find a coffee shop or workspace that’s open, feeling safe becomes the dominant issue. While most places have procedures in place to keep everyone safe, there’s still a part of us that whispers ‘what if?’ in the back of our heads. Is the escape worth the minuscule risk?
One of the owners of the digital marketing agency Post + Proper, Lauren Warner, found that to be the case when coming back to ModernWell. “I was a little bit apprehensive my first day walking back in here. That quickly subsided when I saw what was going: not having to log in with the touch screen, it’s not packed so social distancing is absolutely perfect, and it seems like a very clean and safe place.”
ModernWell member and digital marketing strategist, Keely Herron, describes what drew her away from her home office and back to ModernWell when they reopened after being closed from mid-March to mid-May. “I don’t know that I feel more productive, but it feels better,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to leave the house and see other people and have some sense of routine and normalcy.” For others, like Marissa with young kids at home, being at ModernWell is about both feeling good and increased productivity, “I can get so much more done in one hour of being here (ModernWell) than three hours at my house. Here it’s all about focusing.”
ModernWell member Anisa Hajimumin describes her gratitude on her first day back in the space: “It’s a really great place to be, especially a place where women can come together and work and collaborate on projects that they’re working on.” Lauren reiterated this message of finding ModernWell to be a safe, productive, and mood elevating space, and especially helpful during this challenging time, “When I come to ModernWell, it’s extremely tranquil here. The aesthetics, the windows, and the design make me feel calm and focused.”
Whether you have access to a workspace like ModernWell or not, remember that oftentimes changing up the scenery of your workspace will boost your productivity, creativity, mood, and mental health. During these unprecedented times of uncertainty and fear for our own health and the health of our society as a whole, make sure that you are taking care of your physical and mental health, which sometimes means finding an outdoor park bench or coffee shop to spend your work day or even a few hours.
If you live in Minneapolis and would like to give ModernWell a try, please email us at email@example.com to schedule a free work day. We require masks in our main space, have plenty of private spaces with doors to take zoom calls (without your mask) and have all of the state and city mandated Covid-19 safety protocols in place. We also have a beautiful outdoor patio and can even make you an iced coffee!