With the first anniversary of the pandemic in our rearview mirror, it’s no secret to any of us that remote work doesn’t always pair well with relaxation. Research suggests that working from home can be correlated with longer working schedules, burnout, and chronic stress.
To make matters more complicated, those who struggle with working from home must navigate social distancing, loneliness, and dwindling motivation as natural consequences of the isolation that comes with lockdown.
I believe that remote workers can find comfort in the new normal through mindfulness. While it may seem counterproductive to declare an online solution as the answer, I encourage you to explore the practice of mindfulness online.
You can make an effort to be more mindful on an individual basis by subscribing to meditation apps or joining digital communities. If you are looking to bring mindfulness into your professional life while working remotely, here are some tips for doing so.
Ask Yourself – “Where is My Mind At?”
Zoom fatigue, long hours, and juggling tasks will likely complicate how you perceive your emotions. To better understand your needs, I challenge you to ask yourself the question, “Where is my mind at?”
By paying closer attention to what is on your mind, you will simplify the process of listening to your body and knowing what it needs at any given moment.
In taking more considerate care of yourself and knowing what that process looks like to you, you will find yourself performing better at work.
Checking in with your mind requires suspending unrealistic expectations for yourself. If you are to be more mindful, you will need to be as honest as possible with your emotions. Are you sleeping enough? Are you drinking enough water? And Are you exercising enough?
Do you feel comfortable taking breaks throughout the day? If not, do you find yourself craving some time away from your desk? Providing honest answers to these questions requires you to remove your ego from the narrative.
Management and Mindfulness
All managers can benefit from outfitting their team with mindfulness exercises. On an individual level, try and notice your behavior as you relate to those you manage. If you tend to rush through one-on-one check-ins, ask yourself what about the day makes you act as if you have time for some tasks but not others.
If you find yourself distracted while trying to handle your day-to-day responsibilities, explore what your mind is gravitating towards. Perhaps there is an environmental factor, such as dwindling physical activity or lack of sufficient sunlight, making it more difficult for you to be present.
One way for managers to demonstrate that they are present and dedicated to leading their team is by promoting mindfulness. If your team meets regularly, do your best to create space for checking in beyond the workplace.
Emphasize to your team that you welcome vulnerability. Having open and honest conversations about the state of remote work can help your team strategize solutions. It can also put into perspective why you may be feeling more burnt out than usual.
Outside of check-ins, I encourage all managers to prioritize deep listening, especially when working remotely. Ensure that you ask engaging questions and make notes on how to follow-up on exciting points long after calls end.
Over time, I guarantee that you will see how deep listening transforms mindfulness into an actionable item on your to-do list instead of a hollow, nebulous concept without application to your daily work life.
About Bo Parfet
Bo Parfet is the CEO of Denali Venture Philanthropy. He co-founded the impact organization alongside his wife, Meredith Parfet, over ten years ago. Bo and Meredith celebrate Denali Venture Philanthropy as a mechanism to continue the family legacy of philanthropic missions. As the CEO, Bo partners with social entrepreneurs who share his value of fostering positive change in their communities through innovative projects.
A Kalamazoo, Michigan native, Bo earned his Bachelor of Science in Economics from Colorado State University. He later studied at the University of Michigan, where he graduated with a Master’s in Applied Economics.
Parfet also earned his Master’s in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. When he is not brainstorming forward-thinking social innovations, Parfet spends time with his family in Colorado and Florida.