Working from home
This relatively new way of working has become an even more popular since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic. Almost an entire year of being shut in our homes, or at least not able to socialise. Keys workers and many other professionals have been unable to stop going out to work. Many have sadly lost their jobs and tried to survive on furlough or benefits. Those lucky enough have been adapting to working from home throughout. We had a little break of less restrictive rules in between national and local lock downs but the respite did not last long.
With all the weird stuff going on and the additional struggles to cope with, working from home has had additional challenges the last year. It has therefore been a great time to test and work out the best methods on how to do so successfully.
Using this last year as a kind of trial I have come to the conclusion that I would like to work remotely on a more permanent basis in the future. I have been lucky enough to be able to work from home throughout the entire pandemic. Although we are now hopefully at the end of the lock downs, I thought I would share my tips for how I managed to stay (mostly) sane and self-motivated.
1- Get into a working from home routine
Maintain a work day routine. No matter whether you are choosing to work from home or if it is due to the current lock down situation, routines really can help. Whether that’s starting your day with breakfast, a morning run, showering, or just getting out of your pj’s. No matter how tempting it is to stay in your pyjamas, getting up and dressed into some kind of work clothes can really help you get into the right frame of mind for work.
When I have not had the energy to implement my morning routine it has really thrown my day out of whack. It’s amazing how much a morning routine can effect your day.
Knowing your goals for the day, week, month and year can really help with motivation and focus. Plan what you want to achieve within the year, then break that down into monthly and weekly goals. Each morning set out your daily goals and block out your day. Planning out how you will spend your work time is a great way of starting your work day. Block out your day in hour length time slots, one task per slot to optimise focus and include variety. Within your plan include breaks away from the screen and lunch breaks. Knowing the structure of your day down to these specifics will help you to focus on each goal/task one at a time.
3- Exercise around your working from home hours
Before or after work, or even on your lunch break, whenever works best within your routine. When we are cooped up indoors all day it is important to take time to move. During the day make sure you are stretching your legs regularly. Even if it’s just by getting up to go to the loo or to get a drink.
After work you could dedicate an hour block to movement. You could go for a walk around your local area, do yoga or pilates, weight training, HIIT workouts or so many other options. If you need a guide you could download a fitness app, find a virtual class, follow along to a fitness tutorial on YouTube or join a gym (once Covid restrictions permit it). No matter what exercise you do it can help both your physical and mental health. 30 mins every day could make a world of difference to your body in so many ways.
4- Self care
Firstly – be patient with yourself. If you have not worked from home before this may be a difficult transition.
When self care is mentioned it is often thought of as the bubble baths and face mask sessions but at it’s core self care is listening to you body and mind and looking after them. That’s how I see it anyway. Don’t get me wrong, the pamper sessions are lovely, but make sure you’re doing the other self care work too. Getting a chair you will be comfortable sitting in day in, day out. Know what environment you need to focus and work well. Do you need to play music? Sit in silence? Meditate before you sit down at your desk? Listen to your body and try to accommodate it.
5- Social time
Working from home is often a very solitary venture. Even if you are an introvert, having some kind of social time can help your motivation and prevent you feeling isolated. At the moment we are having to stick to virtual socialising but although it is not quite the same, it’s better than no interaction at all and can benefit us hugely.
When we can socialise in person again you could meet someone for a quick coffee. Or you could go out for lunch. It can really help to break up your day. Make plans for your evenings or the weekend. Even if it’s to sit with your furry friend and/or partner on the sofa all day Saturday and binge watch your favourite show.
Having time away from work, out of your house can be a great way to regain energy. It would also reduce isolation and boredom. However, know your limits, listen to your body. Don’t make so many plans that you burn yourself out. We only have 24 hours in a day and you need to be getting enough rest. Find that perfect balance for you, it will be different for everyone.
A natural at working from home
It may take a while to get into a full swing, but using these tips will hopefully help you be able to stay on top of most of the changes and keep up your motivation and energy levels.
What other tips would you give people who are starting to or struggling with WFH?