Even if you’re used to working from home, current events have framed the way we approach the tasks and duties many of us – until recently – carried out in an office a lot differently. Rather than a day or two a week completing our workloads from the couch, working from home has become a full-time reality, taking us out of the workplaces we’re used to.
And for many, the prospect of being away from the office might be an uncomfortable thing to deal with, removing some of the processes and environments that allowed us to be productive in our jobs. This discomfort can have a negative effect on our wellbeing, and that’s perfectly OK. This is something we’re all having to get used to in our own ways, and so feelings of anxiousness, and lack of motivation, among others, are sure to crop up during this period spent working from home.
It may be difficult in these uncertain times, but there are plenty of things you can do to form new routines and improve your wellbeing while working remotely, aside from eating well and exercising regularly. Taking care of yourself and your wellbeing is what’s important right now, so why not give some of the following a try…
Though it’s tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day while working from home, getting dressed in the morning is a good way to make the transition into “work mode”. It can boost our self-esteem and confidence, while also delineating working from home from being at home – getting us into that ready-to-work mindset that is important for productivity.
Above all, getting dressed helps to create a sense of normalcy. Right now, everyone’s routines are a lot different from what they used to be, so pulling on normal clothes reminds us of these previous routines even when everything in the real world feels upside down.
You don’t have to get suited up every day, but taking care of your appearance is a large part of self-care, which is something that we all need right now.
Designate a workspace
Maintaining the distinction between our workplace and home life is a little more different than what we’re used to. If we can’t fully disconnect from work, our productivity can end up suffering just as much as our home life.
So just as you would previously separate work from home when leaving the office, it’s good to recreate that by setting up a physical workspace in your home. It doesn’t have to be an entire room dedicated to your new office (you might not have the space), but just somewhere that feels as separate from the rest of your home throughout the day, even if it’s a corner of your living room.
Wherever you choose, somewhere that has a chair you can stay comfortable in for eight hours a day and has good natural lighting is ideal. What’s key is being able to turn your working day on and off as appropriate, which is why it’s good to keep this workspace confined to a specific area, instead of being spread across your home.
And don’t forget to pack up your things as you would at the end of a typical day in the office, so you can draw a line under the day.
Establish work boundaries
Be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not. Since where we work and live are one and the same right now, it can be easy to let work bleed into your downtime. Don’t be tempted to go beyond your usual hours just because it’s something to do; everyone needs that time to switch off and recharge in time for the next day. Tell yourself when enough is enough if you feel like you’re going overboard with your work.
If you live with other people, whether it’s friends or family, the distinction is doubly important. Make it clear to those who you live with what your work boundaries are so you can cut down on distractions through the day, too.
Don’t forget about annual leave
Since lockdown might have meant cancelling holidays abroad, you probably have more annual leave than you’re used to stocked up as a result. But even in these restricted times, it’s still a good idea to use your annual leave and take some time for yourself.
For starters, we all need a break from things at the minute, especially if you feel like things are getting on top of you. Practice some self-care, and give yourself some time off from working from home.
Secondly, consider the fact that everyone has a stockpile of annual leave. Businesses are stretched enough as they are at the minute, and if everyone ends up taking annual leave in the final two quarters of the year, your company might not be able to accommodate things.
Talk with your colleagues
When working from home, you miss out on the small talk and coffee breaks that help to break up the day, and add a bit of levity to the workplace. Without people physically being around us, we might feel a lot lonelier than before. However your company tends to communicate, don’t be afraid to reach out through Slack, Zoom, email or even WhatsApp.
Whether it’s morning video calls to touch base or remote lunches over Slack, these breaks can be essential. Small talk and chit chats are beneficial at times like this, but don’t hesitate to check in on someone to see how they’re doing. There’s a lot of uncertainty and anxiousness pervading at the moment, and being at home can exacerbate these feelings for some people. Just the act of reaching out will be appreciated.
Try to avoid the news
Distractions aren’t in short stead now that you’re walking from home. And, one of the things that might be distracting you at the minute is the news. While you may like to stay informed, there’s a lot of confusion and speculation about COVID-19 and deep-diving into the subject can be a one-way ticket to anxiousness and worrying about the future.
These kinds of feelings aren’t ideal while you also have work to do. So, perhaps limit your news intake until after 5 pm when you’ve finished another day working from home.
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