Our home is usually our sanctuary and safe place where we should, in theory, get all of our basic needs met. You come home after a day’s work and want to kick back, rest, spend time with family, have dinner and then sleep.
Home is for many people a separate place away from work.
However, given the current situation we find ourselves in, everyone who typically works from their company’s office will now be managing working from home.
When I first started working from home, I thought it would be great, yet little did I know as the weeks and months went on it would really start to affect my overall mood.
I learnt the hard way that I needed to implement certain tactics and rules for myself to make home-working enjoyable and productive.
I’ve hosted a number of webinars this week and ‘healthy homeworking’ is one the key topics I’ve been speaking to.
So, as we all have a little while longer managing this situation and my guess is that by now you might be starting to feel the way I did, I thought I’d share this information with you today:
Most human beings thrive on routine, it provides us with a sense of control — and many people right now are feeling a lack of control, so this is important.
Even if you have to log on for work at set time, there’s much more freedom when working from home and it’s very easy to let bad habits creep in whereby you find yourself working but still sat in your pyjamas at 11am and you haven’t had breakfast yet!
Stick to a morning and lunch routine and have a set time for work so that you can separate work time from home time otherwise it’s highly likely you’ll start to feel sluggish and lackadaisical.
Very similar to the above; have firm boundaries with your time. This may be tricky right now if you’re juggling work and children or for many people, their workload has dramatically increased whilst companies pivot and firefight to adapt in these challenging times. But do not be tempted to work in the evening or over the weekend unless you really have to.
Otherwise, trust me, you will start to lose that relaxing feeling associated with switching off and enjoying being ‘at home’ and having a weekend. There needs to be a clear separation between work and home life.
It’s ideal if you have a separate office or spare room to work from. This way you enter a different space for work and then shut the door on work when you end for the day. You can’t ‘see’ work when you’re not in that room.
However, if you don’t have that luxury and you’re working from your living room, bedroom or dining table, then I recommend packing away your workspace so it’s out of sight when you finish for the day. This is so that work is not on your mind whilst you’re relaxing. I appreciate however this may be a hassle if you have a monitor rather than a lap-top, but at least perhaps you can move things away for the weekend. It’s worth the extra effort!
At work there are regulations in place to make sure that you have an ergonomic and productive workstation set-up. However, at home you might currently be using your dining table or a make-shift desk with a dining chair or even sitting on your sofa at the coffee table with your laptop!
So, now more than ever, it’s important to get up on a regular basis and move around. As you may have heard ‘sitting is the new smoking’ and if your workstation isn’t particularly conducive for sitting for long periods of time then we may start to experience tight shoulders, poor posture etc.
A great way to kill two birds with one stone, is to have a large bottle or jug of water on your desk with a glass. Regularly drink and refill your glass (you’ll stay hydrated), and this will in turn mean that you need to get up to go to the loo more often and when you do that, take a moment to stretch out your body with a particular focus on your chest and front of the thighs. I’d also recommend setting-up some kind of reminder to get up every 30mins even if it’s just for 1-minute.
It might be difficult to avoid distractions at home if you have children, however many parents are creating schedules around taking it in turn with one working and one looking after the children. I’ve also heard that some parents are letting their children stay up late so that they sleep for longer in the mornings and then the parents have some much-needed quiet time for focus.
Lastly, it goes without saying that notifications on your phone or computer will cause a lot of distraction, however set your phone aside and check the influx of news, jokes and texts/calls from friends and family when you are on ‘home’ time!
None of us are quite sure at this point how long social distancing will continue, here in the U.K we have at least a couple more weeks, but if you follow the advice above you should find working from home more healthy, productive and enjoyable.