Winter can be a long haul for those of us who live in the chilly and dreary East. When I googled times for sunset here in Toronto 4:42 p.m. was the average time this month. Many of us react to these factors by wanting to hibernate and working from home can become both a blessing and a curse.

The blessing comes in not having to shovel out the driveway, scrape off ice from the windshield and try to warm up a very chilly car…not to mention avoiding delays in traffic when it snows and the white knuckle commute on icy days.

People pride themselves on “business as usual” and brag about all of the extra work they manage to produce without the delays and time taken up by going to the office. What I am curious about is the impact of pajamas and sweats with big cozy slippers over the course of three months. Is this nirvana for those who have a preference for introversion? Do both introverts and extraverts need to guard against “cabin fever” if they stay indoors for too many days in a row?

For the uninitiated “cabin fever” according to Wikipedia is:

A slang term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in, for an extended period. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, forgetfulness, and excessive sleeping.

The origin of the term is unknown, but was first recorded in 1918. The term may originate from the United States during the time when settlers would be snowed into their log cabins in winter and would have to wait for the spring thaw in order to travel to town. The phrase may also be associated with ocean-crossing sailing ships in which passengers had to endure weeks and months of slow travel while living in cabins below deck.

Here are my observations from personal experience: Yes,working from home may have advantages for those with a preference for Introversion. I have heard people say that they there comes a point where in hindsight they realize that they have been in this comfort zone for too long and the effort has to be made to reach out. Whether connecting with others comes from the natural rythmn of your business cycle such as client or team meetings or from social interactions, pay attention to scheduling in the amount of external stimulae that is optimum for your work flow.

For those with a preference for Extraversion, mental stimulation can come from listening to music or getting out in the bustling neighbourhood to grab your coffee instead of plugging in the expresso. It doesn’t always need to be from face to face interactions. Being aware of energy levels and what you might need to provide the right amount and kind of stimulation can make working from home a blessing no matter what your preferences might be. The thing is to take the right action that suits your needs in the moment. A walk around the block or some brief exercise might be the refresher needed to keep the malaise of cabin fever at bay… that and keeping the pajamas for bed time.

Category: Working from home
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