Two Tips from a Tenured Telecommuter

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

26 March 2020

After taking an Enneagram Personality test, I’ve uncovered something I’ve known for years: I’m a Peacemaker. “No [personality] type is more devoted to the quest for internal and external peace for themselves and others.” I’m also a member of the Libra club, known for “keeping everything in their realm on a fair, harmonious and even keel.”

My personality type and my zodiac sign make my ability to telecommute effortless. I want everything to be harmonious, so I’m not one to take advantage of my situation. I don’t want to rock the boat. I’m a peacemaking Libra for crying out loud. Whether I’m working on the couch in my PJs or in an office space filled with hundreds of coworkers, I’ll make it work.

About 12 years ago, when I was still working in a typical office setting, being a peacemaker came at an expense. Almost everyone in my office loved to chat with me. They’d tell me about their relationship problems, ask for my opinion on a case, or even ask what color they should paint their nails. I’m thankful I had an office – with a door – so when I needed to focus, I’d simply shut it. But I still felt the need to forfeit some of my personal space and time because I longed for harmony. As a telecommuter, I still have interruptions, but they’re conversations with my friends and family instead. That makes me feel more connected to humanity than when I was face-to-face with my associates. Funny how that works. 

After channeling my 11-year-younger self and my adjustment period to working as a telecommuter, I wanted to share two tips.

  1. Find out more about yourself. Take the Enneagram Personality test, and find out what makes you tick. Then adjust your day around it. What grounds me may not ground you. And that’s okay, but figure it out. Accepting who you are can provide insight for personal growth. There hasn’t been a more convenient time to learn about ourselves. Embrace it. Don’t avoid it.
  1. Drink a lot of water and don’t hold in your pee. “In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.” For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day.” You may not consume this amount of water while working in an office because it’s not as convenient to use a public restroom as it is your personal commode. Well now is your time to shine. Your body loves water. And it’ll help you with your overall wellbeing.

And lastly, it’s not a tip, but be sure to acknowledge that it takes about 30 days to form a new habit. If you just started working from home, it’s impossible for you to be a pro after one week. Keep going, forgive yourself, and you’ll get there. Take this time to learn about yourself and drink lots of water. Two small things that are easy things to commit to.

As Rumi, an Afghani poet, said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”