It is almost a year ago now that people all over the world experienced ‘lockdown’ for the first time. An extraordinary moment that the way we were living was about to change significantly.
I remember leaving the office in rather a hurry, having cleared my desk of the things I thought I might need for a few weeks – little did I know it would be for 12 months (and may well be for much longer!) Businesses had to adjust quickly, switching to a remote model within a short space of time and many people’s homes became their offices. Workstations were built, backdrops were carefully created and the lines of home and work life became blurred.
The way we work will continue to change for sure! Not only because of the pandemic, but also because of the deepening recession that we all face. With businesses cutting back on overheads, the prospect of flexible working is evermore appealing with reduced office space only required for meetings.
Working from home can have its challenges of course and can take its toll on our physical and mental wellbeing! We’ve put together some top tips to help you be more productive working from home and create a positive workspace.
Top Tip number 1 – Focus on the postives
Let’s face it, there’s no commute to start with, giving you time to do a workout, take a brisk walk, or yoga session which will get you set up and feeling good for the day ahead! Less stress too, as you don’t have to battle the crowds or traffic to get to work on time! There are fewer interruptions or distractions from colleagues, and no lunch preps to do, and you can even keep on top of a few household chores during your breaks! Having a positive outlook helps us to see the best even in difficult situations and provides us with better coping mechanisms.
Top Tip number 2 – Check your posture and remember to stretch!
Working from home sitting at a computer or looking at a phone or tablet set in one position for hours at a time, will often lead to poor posture; rounded shoulders, and head dropped forward are a typical stance. Sitting up at a table or desk is ideal as being hunched over a laptop on a sofa or armchair will undoubtedly lead to aches and pains. Taking time during your day to stretch out will not only help to improve your posture but will also decrease neck and back pain, muscle stiffness and help you to relax. For some really helpful information on posture, take a look at our Posture vlog here
Top Tip number 3 – Take regular breaks
Working from home can often be more intense! With fewer interruptions and distractions – the hours can whizz by without taking a proper break! Coupled with the feeling that you have to be available 24/7 for fear of your boss thinking you’re not working hard enough! However, taking regular breaks is so important for your overall wellbeing. Stand up and stretch, make a drink, go for a brisk walk around the block or your garden. Try setting an alarm in your workspace, to remind you to take that all-important reset!
Top Tip number 4 – Be clutter free!
Physical clutter can lead to mental clutter. It can affect our stress levels, sleep, and ability to focus. Working from home may mean that you don’t have a dedicated workstation or office. So whether you are at the kitchen table or in your living room, make sure you’re working area is tidy and organised, as this will help you to feel calmer and work more efficiently.
Top Tip number 5 – Dress as though you are going to the office (or at least get out of your PJs!)
Staying in our PJs all day doesn’t really set us up for a productive day’s work! Getting up, showering and dressing as though you were going to the office will help you to be more focused during your working hours. It will also help to define the boundaries of work and home life!
Top Tip number 6 – Let in the fresh air
Walking from your bedroom to your home workstation isn’t going to fill your lungs with fresh air! Nor will it invigorate you before your workday begins! Opening a window and letting in fresh air will help with your energy levels – you may even get a blast of vitamin D if the sun shines through! If you don’t have the luxury of opening a window or back door, then try and head out for a lunchtime walk. Filling your lungs with oxygen, will be sure to boost your wellbeing!
Top Tip number 7 – Set some boundaries
Look after your mental wellbeing by setting boundaries with other members of your household. Talking to your family members or people you live with about what you require to make sure you can work efficiently at home is so important. Sticking to a routine or schedule and turning your computer off at the end of your working day will help you to keep the definition between work and home life. Once finishing work, do something that makes you feel that you have ‘closed the door to the office for the day’. Spend some time with the family, meet up with a friend outside or take a long hot bath or shower.. but whatever you choose to do, keep away from that computer – it is all too easy to keep logged on!
Top tip number 8 – Don’t be too hard on yourself
Home-working comes with its challenges! It is an unconventional way of working that the majority of us are not used to. Therefore, it is really important to balance productivity with taking care of your own wellbeing, or you may risk burnout. Communication with colleagues and your boss is vital too. If you are struggling or need help, then reach out – you may find others are experiencing the same things as you are. Be realistic about what you can achieve and give yourself time to relax at the end of your working day.
For information and advice on the practical elements whilst working from home during the pandemic, click here