In light of recent events, a lot of us have found ourselves living an unfamiliar and uncertain world. And, while the precautions we are all taking are for everyone’s health and benefit, it doesn’t come without some adjustment.
One of the biggest day to day changes that many of us are facing is the concept of working from home. While there are many benefits to this – wear your slippers to work, sit in front of the fire, forget about that stressful commute and background music, well that’s totally up to you – there are also many challenges involved with working from home.
Firstly, when your TV, bed and that bottle of beer are all only steps away, discipline becomes tested. Then there’s the fact that, no matter how much you like your own company, spending eight hours a day or longer with only ourselves makes loneliness a real factor. And, if you manage to escape all of this, feelings of pressure, stress and a loss of work-life balance may begin to creep in. Afterall, nobody wants their boss to think they’re slacking just because we’re at home.
Well, having recently made the decision to have all staff work from home during the outbreak, Officio have some tips to help everyone overcome some of the challenges involved.
Start the Day Right
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean your morning routine needs to change. Get up at your usual time, get ready as if you were going to work and make sure you’re sitting down at you home computer 10 minutes early, just as you would at the office. Maintaining this routine will put you in the right mindset for work.
What’s more, evidence shows that dressing for work, even when sitting in your spare bedroom, can make you feel more engaged and motivated. If you feel put together physically, your mind will feel more prepared too.
Create a Dedicated Workstation
This is important for two reasons. Firstly, for getting focus and removing all distractions. Having somewhere you can take calls, make notes and permanently set up your laptop, is vital for productivity. Stay away from the TV and games consoles and be aware of your screen time – how much is actually work based and how much is spent scrolling Instagram.
Mikael Hamaoui, president at Riviera Horizons Realty, told Business Insider, “I have a dedicated area in my home that is for work only. It’s critical to separate work from personal, or it’s too easy to find yourself on the couch watching TV.”
The second reason is to help your mind differentiate between work and home. If you’re working from your sofa, it can be hard for your mind to then switch off when the sofa becomes somewhere to relax after hours. Similarly, if your laptop is always in your eyeline, the temptation to just check your e-mails or put together that schedule is increased. Being able to close the door on your workspace and leave your computer behind will help in maintaining a good work-life balance.
Plan the Day
Just as you would at work, when you sit down at your home desk, make a plan, list or schedule for the day. Whatever works for you, just make sure you establish some sort of structure for the day. “The thing that keeps me sane while working remotely is having a set schedule,” Kara Luton, an engineer at CrowdStrike, told Business Insider.
When you’re at work, this generally isn’t an issue, however, when at home, the temptation to add a few domestic to dos to the list is pretty high. Don’t do it. Make it clear to yourself what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of taking breaks while you’re working from home.
Taking regular screen breaks to stretch the muscles and rest the eyes is of course important. And taking out the rubbish or loading the dishwasher (just as we would usually catch up with a colleague while making coffee) are healthy and practical options. Just ensure you don’t find yourself cleaning the bathroom while you ignore that list of clients you should be catching up with.
Incorporating tools such as Slack, Zoom and Skype into your team’s routine is a great way to stay connected. Not only will this make communicating about projects and workloads much easier, it will help to reduce those feelings of loneliness. Although the contact isn’t physical, often a call or video conversation can do the trick. Almost like a virtual watercooler moment.
These types of tools will also help the team stay on track while they’re not together. You can track each other’s progress without having to constantly ask for updates and scheduling regular regrouping meetings is effortless.
While we have been advised to practise social distancing, getting a regular dose of the outdoors, exercise and a little general wellness is vital for both our physical and mental health. So, while working from home, try to utilise outdoor space as much as possible. Balconies, courtyards or gardens if you have one are all great places to get back to nature whenever you can.
If you are able to work from your garden or outdoor space then even better. Hold skype sessions, phone calls or even brainstorming time outside. Use your lunch hour to go for a walk. Or try a bit of yoga or meditation, even a home workout. But, try to stick to large, open spaces where contact with someone else is unlikely.
Working from home generally means that time is on our hands. Why not use the time you’ve saved on your commute to plan a 30-60-minute activity before or after work? This could be a bit of self-pampering while the salons are closed, time to read a book or as above, getting outdoors and exercising.
A final piece of advice, make sure you still enjoy every day. Don’t lose yourself in isolation and work. Make sure you give yourself clear working hours and communicate them to your colleagues and clients too. The work/life balance is already difficult to maintain in today’s 24-hour world. Let’s use this isolation period to take back some free time.
If a new workspace is still an important part of your to do list, then Officio are as always ready to help. We are now offering virtual tours and flexible start dates for clients still in need of that perfect workspace. Just get in touch to discuss how we can help.