The last year has certainly thrown a number of unique challenges at us all. Many of us have had to adapt to working from home, teaching our children at home and generally being at home a lot more than we thought was possible.
Here are our top tips for surviving the working from home period:
Maintain a routine
It’s easy to let our regular routine slip when working remotely. With many of us electing for later nights and later starts since we no longer need to commute to the office, the more relaxed nature of working from home in reality probably isn’t doing us any good. By simply getting up, showered and dressed in the morning as you would if you were going into the office, this will undoubtedly have a positive influence on your day. Taking regular breaks, eating at your usual meal times and incorporating some form of exercise into your day should help to maintain some balance.
Create a workspace that works for you
If you are fortunate enough to have a designated workspace at home where you can close the door on your working day, then you will appreciate how helpful this can be when your home is also acting as your office. If you don’t have that space and your office is the dining table, then simply putting your laptop away and out of sight can really help you switch off once your working day is complete. Sitting in a proper chair, having good lighting and an organised workspace are all key to creating a happy working environment.
Stay in touch
It goes without saying but staying in touch with your colleagues whilst working remotely is crucial. Checking-in throughout the day as you would if you were in the office can help you feel less isolated and more connected, and with many businesses having rolled out software such as Teams, Zoom and Slack to keep communication up-and-running, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch. On the other hand the frequent video calls, emails and Whatsapp conversations can be overwhelming and impact your productivity in a negative way, so it’s important to be aware of this too.
If like many you’re juggling home schooling, working from home and surviving a pandemic all at the same time, it’s important to set boundaries. It’s much easier to be distracted with everyone at home, so creating a rota and communicating with other members of your household is vital. Likewise, setting boundaries with your work is just as important, so be sure to switch-off at the end of your working day.
Limit screen time
We live in a digital age, and that often means that things that used to be done offline are now done online. Consequently, this has led to surge in screen time, even more so now during lockdown. Whether it be reading the news, catching up with friends or boredom simply getting the better of you, living in a virtual world means it’s hard to escape being glued to a screen for most of the day. Try and set restrictions on usage; there are plenty of apps that can help you establish limits or alternatively many devices allow you to set daily time limits to help manage your downtime.
Keep fit and healthy
It has long been said that a balanced diet helps keep the body and mind healthy, enabling us to sleep better, feel more energetic and benefit from increased concentration levels. But when we’re spending so much time at home it’s tempting to replace regular meals with snacks and stay in pyjamas all day. The NHS recommends adults get around 20–30 minutes of exercise every day so a brisk walk at lunchtime or a coupled with a well-balanced diet should not only keep you feeling good physically, but have a positive mental impact too.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the moment, so taking some time out to relax and recuperate is not unreasonable. By being realistic with what is achievable and accepting that you may not always be at your most productive whilst working from home, you can help to overcome those feelings of guilt. Schedule some time to switch-off and use it to do something you enjoy to avoid the risk of burning out.
Find the positives
At a time when it feels like the negatives often outweigh the positives, it can certainly feel overwhelming and, as a result, have an impact on our mental health. Instead, try and use this time as a period of reflection and focus on things that are important to you. Whether that be helping out within your community, taking up a new hobby or enhancing your education, there are lots of things you can do to ensure this was a period of achievement.