As you spend more time away from the office, our team offers their top tips on working effectively from home – and enjoying it along the way.
Set a regular schedule and stick to it -
Maintaining your previous office hours to the best of your ability will ensure you feel that weekdays are still working days. An intentional morning routine can really help with this, setting you up for the day ahead by getting you into a ‘proactive’ rather than ‘reactive’ headspace. Get up in plenty of time, dress in clothes you feel comfortable but productive in and make the most of that non-commuting time by investing attention in your own self care, whether that be through exercise, meditation or a new hobby.
Set clear boundaries -
Presenteeism is not the same as productivity. Having clear guidelines for when work starts and ends helps maintain a work-life balance, ensuring that each can be enjoyed fully. Stand firm on your need for proper time away from your desk and don’t allow meetings and unpaid overtime to seep into your evenings and weekends. This also applies to working hours, too – though it might be tempting to multitask - whether that’s having the TV on in the background or doing household chores - it’s much more efficient to focus on one thing at a time.
Having the proper equipment -
Having a comfortable, ergonomic chair is paramount to your health, posture and productivity. Ensure you request every item of furniture you require from your employer, or, if you are required to purchase items yourself, thoroughly research your options and make your chair a priority. Researching correct desk posture may also help save your back in the long term and additional equipment such as laptop stands and wireless keyboards may be required to help you achieve this.
Step away -
Without being surrounded by colleagues, it can be tempting to spend all day staring at your screen. Ensure you are aware of your company’s break policies and adhere to them - turn off your monitor and put down your phone; make yourself some lunch; go on a walk; take a quick yoga class. Provided that you can maintain social distancing, get out of the house at least once a day. Getting fresh air and keeping your body moving has been scientifically proven to release endorphins and reduce anxiety levels. Moreover, ensure that you’re getting up and out of your chair whenever you can during work hours. Working whilst standing promotes healthy blood circulation and improves posture - and, for many, can make tasks feel less repetitive.
- Maintain a dedicated office space -
Though it is not possible for every remote worker to have separate office spaces and computers, employees can dedicate specific desks and peripherals to their working tasks. Ensuring your space is tidy, organised and fully equipped is paramount to your own mental health. Lay ground rules with your family or housemates - ensure they are aware your working space is to be untouched. If the space you use for working is multifunctional (such as a dining table), it can be helpful to create dedicated storage for work-related items once you clock off. Again, do not hesitate to ask your employer for any equipment that you need.
Connect with friends and colleagues often -
Though the introduction of remote working has seen many positive impacts – such as a removal of the dreaded commute or more time spent with family - feelings of loneliness, isolation and lethargy have inevitably been experienced. Organise work socials, Zoom quizzes or create group-chats. Try to remember that your coworkers and friends may also be feeling isolated, and encourage conversations addressing this. Even if you’re an introverted person, do try to interact with those around you and on your work team, and encourage new interpersonal relationships if possible.
Don’t be overly hard on yourself -
You’re working through a global pandemic, so it’s important to not be too hard on yourself. Even when following the aforementioned tips, losing focus can still be easy - it takes a lot of discipline to maintain an office job in a new, non-office space. If you find your stress levels rising, make a list of the areas of the ‘new normal’ you’re thankful for and try to think of positive solutions for the areas that are causing anxiety. And remember, your employers are in this with you, so don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it.