5 Things You Must Do When Working From Home
I never thought I would be contemplating writing an article like this, but since the unfolding #coronavirus crisis and the concept of #selfisolation and #socialdistancing is becoming a life-saving necessity, I thought I could at the very least offer up my advice for those that now find themselves #workingfromhome for the first time.
If it's possible for you in this current situation, then working from home is the safest option and I'm not going to lie to you, initially it feels like the ideal setting. Being surrounded by your home comforts, coupled with the lack of a stressful morning commute, is very tempting indeed.
However, if you're not organised, you'll quickly learn that the novelty wears off and procrastination and a lack of productivity can start to set in. I've been working from home for the past 8 years or so and am well aware of the awesome highs and the frustrating lows that come with working in this environment.
With the vast majority of us having to adapt to this new lifestyle without warning, here's 5 essential ways to improve productivity while working from home during these temporary measures.
1. MAINTAIN A ROUTINE
I can't stress how fundamental maintaining a routine is to your #wellbeing while working from home. It can be so tempting to simply roll out of bed, throw on your comfies and take that blissful short commute to your desk or phone and dive into your emails first thing in the morning.
It's so important to get washed and properly dressed, have a good breakfast and get yourself 'ready for work' at the start of every home working day. It literally allows the brain to wake up fully and get into a work-ready mode, which might otherwise feel a bit sluggish if you choose to work straight from bed or after having a slow, lazy morning.
The main benefit of working from home is that at the very least you can turn your morning routine into something far more relaxing than would be possible if you normally rush to get out of the house every morning - which leads me nicely on to my next point.
2. ADD SELF CARE INTO YOUR ROUTINE
This can come in many forms - whether this is a nourishing breakfast/lunch, moisturising after showering, choosing an outfit that makes you feel good, applying make-up as you usually would or even taking some light exercise, all of these things go some way to improving your mental working mindset and giving you the best chance of maximising your productivity.
I personally swear by taking two short yoga sessions a day - just 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the evening - which helps to decrease stress and improve flexibility, especially at this time when we aren't able to go out and move around as much as we'd like. There are plenty of beginner tutorials online and you don't need much space or skill, so I really encourage everyone to try it out during this period of #selfquarantine and see how different it makes you feel!
3. GIVE YOURSELF A PROPER SET-UP
That means no working from the sofa or bed my friends! As tempting as it might be to work from the most comfortable place, you will limit your productivity and ultimately end up hurting your posture, leading to back cramps, neck or shoulder pain. When creating a healthy home/work life balance, it's better to think of the sofa or bed as a treat for the end of the day, making that mental connection that you're out of work-mode and in your downtime.
If it's possible, set yourself up with a proper desk and supportive chair, in a light room with lots of ventilation. I love my sunny spot by the window, and I've also started sitting on a yoga ball which has done wonders for my posture and offers a bit of light exercise throughout the day.
4. TAKE PROPER BREAKS
Working from home means you will inevitably find yourself sitting. A LOT. Set yourself a timer to ensure you take proper breaks, whether that's an opportunity to get in a quick exercise sesh, have a coffee or have a chat with a colleague or friend. If you're used to being sociable at work, this is something you're really going to miss when working from home, but thankfully with all our modern social media connections, people are never too far away.
While our movements quite rightly should be restricted during this quarantine period, a walk to stretch your legs is ideal but only if you can do so safely or need to take out a pet dog or get food. Alternatively, get out in the garden if you have one! I can only stare wistfully at my neighbours' gardens from my first floor flat window, but I at least try to get up and walk around my space, or use breaks to do the odd household chore that gets me moving.
5. BEAT PROCRASTINATION
If you struggle with motivating yourself, procrastination can be a real downside of working from home. With so many home comforts around, those distractions can quickly become habits leading to low mood and lack of productivity. I really wouldn't recommend having the TV on in the background and if the internet is your vice, look at ways you can restrict scrolling on apps or switch the Wi-Fi off if it's not essential for your work.
For those that now find themselves working from home in a full house and temporarily looking after relatives or home-schooled children, this will undoubtedly bring additional challenges, so it's more important than ever to manage your time to stay focussed. This is another reason why it's so important to have a proper set-up.
The way to get around procrastination is to effectively plan your time at the start of the week or at least the night before. Set yourself realistic and achieveable goals in a good old to-do list that will give you a mood-boosting sense of accomplishment by the end of the day. The reward for distancing yourself from all those daytime distractions after checking off your to-do list will also be so much sweeter - cue sofa time!
I know that some of these pointers won't be possible for everyone but I hope it goes in some way to making your working from home life much more productive - even enjoyable!
All that remains to be said is to keep following the official advice of washing hands and maintaining social distance, and hope that this combined effort will mean life can soon return to normal.
Look after yourselves, stay safe and be productive!