7 Tips To Make Working From Home Better
It’s 2020, the year of the pandemic with heavy sprinkles of social unrest, political strife, and a whole lot of general uncertainty thrown into the mix. On top of that you might be one of the many people that have found themselves working from home since this whole thing started back in March that hasn’t flourished in the WFH environment. Whether it’s because you’ve got a hyped up toddler rampaging around while you try to reply to that e-mail from your boss that has been burning an urgent hole in your inbox for the past hour while also trying to keep said child alive and unharmed, or whether it’s because you live alone and feel like your world has shrunk exponentially to the size of your 13 inch laptop screen, there are many reasons why you may be struggling.
Some people absolutely love working from home, while some despise it. It’s the marmite of working arrangements and there’s no right or wrong answer. If you wake up every day feeling as chipper as Snow White does when she sings to the forest creatures because you know you don’t need to commute and your home work space is so much more zen than that open plan office you left behind months ago, then this article isn’t for you. However, if you are struggling with your home working arrangement, we have put together 7 tips to help make things more bearable.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a magic wand, but maybe if you follow some of these tips your days will be less stressful and maybe, just maybe you’ll start enjoying your work hours more.
1. Create a designated workspace
When lockdown first happened, many people were caught out having to do their work from their sofa. It has indeed been close to seven months and many will have carved out a space, but if you’re not one of them, it’s alright. Getting caught up in the daily grind is easy and sometimes we forget to take time out to practice self-care, and it will have been just as easy to forego setting up a space.
However, we believe that having a designated workspace is key into making WFH bearable, even pleasant. It’s looking like this will be the norm for the foreseeable future, so now’s as good a time as any to take a second and do so.
If you have a spare room that you can turn into an office that’s fantastic, however if you aren’t as lucky you needn’t despair. All you need to try and do is find a quiet space away from distractions and other people. Make sure you gather everything you need to do your job whether it’s pens, chargers, paper, etc. into one place before you start work, then shut the door if possible.
Your space doesn’t need to be Instagrammable, it just needs to be functional, free of clutter and distractions. We’re not opposed to a beautiful workspace, but if you’re not the type, don’t physically have the space or can’t be bothered a form of desk and a chair away from everything else will do the trick. If you live in a shared space make sure you get everyone to agree on designations.
And finally, it’s important to get comfortable. As tempting as your sofa looks, sitting at a table or a desk is much better for you. If you’re not sure where to begin the NHS has come up with some guidelines to help you out.
2. A working from home routine
When you’re working from an office you’ve got a pre-set routine, so why wouldn’t you have one if you’re WFH? When you’re no longer working in an office the lines between your personal time and work time can get drastically blurred. You don’t need to plan out your day to the minute, but a general guideline that you can follow can make things far less stressful and avoid you burning out.
Ideally, stick to your usual sleep and work patterns. If you can, get up at the same time and always change out of your pyjamas! We’re not saying you need to put on full business attire (although if you want to, you do you), just a different set of clothing will give you the sense of some routine.
When you would normally commute you should try and use that time to read, listen to music, exercise, or anything else that will give you a little boost.
Finally, and this can’t be stressed enough when your workday stops you should stop as well. We’re not saying log off at 5 pm sharp if that’s the end of your office hours, but do not let work creep in and take over your evenings. Instead of focusing on emails, focus on yourself and your home life- whatever that may look like.
3. Keep Yourself Connected
It doesn’t matter if you live with others, have a family, or live on your own- a lot of people have been feeling more isolated. While no one can claim keeping in touch virtually is the same as meeting a friend out for some food, or a drink there are a number of ways you can keep in touch with people who matter. If you do, it will definitely boost your mental wellbeing as well as theirs.
When working in an office you’re bound to have some interactions, laugh, have some banter, but all that can be drastically reduced when WFH. If you’re in need of some human interaction try to pick up the phone instead of emailing. If you’re struggling let your colleagues know- chances are they share some of those feelings.
Also, why not get all your colleagues together and schedule a Friday online get-together or a digital coffee break. Be creative and remember that you don’t have to feel alone. While your colleagues may have a different home situation they’ll likely miss the social aspect of working in an office just as much as you.
4. You deserve a break
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have to be available every minute of the day. Make sure you schedule in some breaks throughout because it’ll work wonders on your mental health and productivity. We recommend you step away from your desk at lunch time and take regular breaks from the screen.
Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes each hour away from whatever you’re doing. We guarantee it’ll boost your productivity when you return to it.
When you’d normally have a lunch break at work why not go outside for a walk or a run, or simply just some fresh air? It’s safe to say that when you’re WFH you might be spending a lot more time without moving. Try and do some light stretching or short workouts when you’re starting to feel a little stiff.
5. Boundaries are your best friend
If you live alone you probably don’t need to set any boundaries, unless you have a clingy cat or a dog that doesn’t quite grasp the concept of personal space. However, when you live with others setting boundaries is key to your mental wellbeing when WFH.
Yes, flexibility is a fantastic perk of working at home, but the distractions that come with it can be detrimental. Make sure you have a conversation with your family, or flat mates and remind them that work hours are work hours. Let them know that you’ll need quiet time and share your schedule.
But boundaries don’t just end there. It’s important you set boundaries for work too. Don’t stay logged on for days on end, switch off at the end of the day. Most e-mails and tasks that you’ve not managed to finish can be done tomorrow as well.
6. In the long-term
No one really knows when all of this is going to end. Therefore it’s important that if you continue to work from home that you stop and think of ways to make it better for yourself. With the UK now plunging into the dark, cold, rainy months it’s unlikely you’ll be able to work in the sunshine from your garden. But are there any other ways your days can be made better? Perhaps there is another software you can use, or are there other ways you can interact with your colleagues? Get creative!
7. Cut yourself some slack
Finally, remember that nothing about this current situation is normal and it’s alright to be a bit overwhelmed. Try to be as productive as possible, but there will be days when you struggle and that’s alright too. Be realistic and be kind to yourself.
Have we missed anything? Is there anything else you do that could help someone else? Let us know in the comments!
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