The idea of working from home always sounds glamorous and fun, until the day you get told you too have to set up a home office with an unknown end date in sight. This is always going to be a challenge trying to separate your life from work when they both sit between the same four walls.
Here are some handy tips to help you effectively work from home as well as stay positive and creative:
First things first – you need to get dressed. The idea of staying in your pyjamas every day might sound appealing but getting up and ready in the morning will help put you in the right headspace for work. And remember, all the usual phone calls and meetings are likely to become video calls!
It can be really easy to plonk yourself on the sofa with your laptop and Netflix in full flow but let’s face it – we all know we aren’t going to be very productive whilst we binge watch that popular box set. Pick a couple of spaces you can retreat to for those all-important phone calls and quiet time you require.
We all could benefit from an extra half hour in bed, and now we’re not commuting, there’s an opportunity to take advantage of the extra free time. Try to keep your bedroom as a sacred space free from work so you can relax in peace. Just remember to give yourself some time to get dressed and set yourself up for the day before you need to be in the “office”.
You wouldn’t normally be sat in silence in an office so try playing some music, radio, or have the TV on in the background (if you don’t find it distracting) to help you concentrate.
It can be really hard to switch off from work when you are at home so try to set yourself working hours.
It might not have to be your usual 9 till 5 but you do need to be consistent. Remember to take lots of breaks. You wouldn’t spend the whole day at you desk beavering away in the office so stretch those legs, fuss your pets (those of you who always wanted to bring your dog to work are currently living the dream), turn off your phone, go for a walk, meditate. Do whatever helps free your mind from work. You should have at least five minutes away from the screen for every hour to prevent eye strain, too.
It can be just as hard to switch off from home life. The laundry can wait! A small job can quickly grow into a much bigger activity and before you know it an hour has passed and you’ve got a mass of emails to get through.
Avoid the panic
With so much information being thrown at you from every direction about the current crisis it can be hard to keep calm and think straight. It is enough to make anyone feel anxious. Try to protect your mental health by limiting your intake of news and social media. The easiest way to do this is to make full use of the blocking features on your phone or browser. Try muting specific words or logging out completely from social media. Reduce the amount you check in to a couple of times a day, and you’ll find it’s a little easier to feel normal.
At the end of you working day make sure you sign out, shut down and switch your phone off. Overworking can be a real problem when you cannot physically step away from the office.
With social distancing in place and having to work at home all day can really take its toll on your mental health. In this day and age, it is so easy to stay connected without being in the same room. Check in with family and Facetime your friends; it will help keep the loneliness at bay and it may help that other person feel a little more connected too.
You also need to stay in touch with colleagues so don’t forget to pick up the phone and have a chat or giggle; it doesn’t all need to be meetings. There are so many programmes available for group chats such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom.
If you are creative, it can be a real struggle to express yourself from the confines of your home. So get creative and make something – whether it’s the latest tick tock or you pull out your old paint brushes, it doesn’t even matter how good it is as long as it helps you switch off from the world and creates that calm you crave.