Working from home can be wonderful if you’re disciplined about self-care and motivation.
As people adjust to working from home, many are doing it for the first time, certainly the first time for such an extended period.
We thought it would be good to collate some of our collective experiences over the years to offer some useful tools and advice on making the most of working at home and staying sane while doing so.
We voted for our top five, and we’d love to hear yours!
1. Video calling
Be brave and turn on that video. While it’s somewhat disconcerting to see yourself, it makes such a difference to feel that human connection while on a call. You’ll be amazed at how you’re more engaged with the call, and the fact that you’ll get so much more from it socially.
Video calling uses more of the senses, so offers up an opportunity to reduce misunderstandings and to create stronger relationships.
it also saves battery time on your phone ?
There are some good free versions out there, Zoom has a good free option, but it limits participants and call length. We use Go to Meeting which has great call quality and can also be used to run Webinars.
You’ll have probably seen homeschooling schedules posted on Facebook, and having a schedule for your workday at home is very useful. Breaking down the day into work blocks and building in some off time prevents burnout and gives work a structure that’s easier to manage.
It’s OK to watch a silly YouTube video for five minutes or to take part in a meaningless Facebook post.
Pop in a slot for lunch, and move away from your device, schedule your last task to start around an hour before a natural end to the day. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day.
Think about what your routine would normally be and try to reflect that. Shower, get dressed at the usual time etc. Don’t be tempted to work in bed.
This is important for your mental health, it sounds obvious, but not doing this leads to burnout and then you’re no help to anyone.
You’ll have gained some time in your day, not travelling to the office or to meetings, make the most of it. Think about things you always mean to get round to and schedule those in.
3. Cut down on the news
Try to avoid the news, especially third party dissection of facts. Watching these will increase anxiety as you focus on things you can’t control, and misinformation is no good to anyone. We’ve recommended to the team here that they only watch the daily Government update and not the thousands of “opinions” and interpretations that follow.
Look at reputable sites such as the World Health Organisation to avoid hysteria and just focus on facts.
Here’s the official Government site: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
And the WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
4. Move around
Weather and Government permitting, schedule some time to exercise, which is also crucial for mental health, particularly during these challenging times. A short walk can do wonders, but if you’re restricted, then we’ve found the below helps:
Ten-minute yoga – loosens you up and gives you energy for the day. Harder than it looks!
Dance around to your favourite music video or tune, dance like no-one is watching!
Run up and down the stairs (if you have them) several times a day.
Shift where you work, especially if you’re in a small flat. Sit on the couch for a bit, then at the desk. Stand up and work for a bit if you can.
5. Mark the end of the day properly
It can tough to switch off at the end of the day, the temptation to keep checking email and interacting is overwhelming, but for your sake, you have to mark an end to the day.
If you’re at the office or in a meeting, you have a commute back that gives you some downtime, which is a crucial activity to actively plan when you’re at home.
We do this by cooking dinner, moving into a different room, planning to watch something for leisure or calling a friend for example.
This website provides recipes based on what you have on hand.
There are others such as What’s in my Fridge, just find your favourite.
I’m sure we’ve all got little tricks that we use to keep on top of things, share yours in the comments!!