Updated: Apr 16, 2020
The boundaries between where you rest and where you work have been blurred.
As we look forward to a world where COVID-19 is said and done, many of us will have created new lifestyle habits, some of which we may wish to keep in our lives. Businesses, employers and employees have discovered productive solutions for remote working.
As the cost, energy and environmental benefits of ‘smart working’ are uncovered, some people may integrate this into their professional lives on an ongoing basis. A few months ago working from home was a real treat saving you time, energy, a retreat from the distractions of daily office life and the drain of your daily rush hour. Now that remote working has become the new norm, our outlook has evolved. You may be juggling kids, cooking, fitness, work and rest, but this is the time to ensure you are creating positive and productive habits.
Let us look at how you can make the most of working from home with four simple yet hugely effective steps:
Get dressed and leave the house
Ok, I do not mean you have to sit in your kitchen wearing a stiff suit, but staying in your PJ’s or workout gear all day is bad for your mental health. Sound familiar? Today, we create a small, accessible change that enables you to separate your personal time from your professional time. Leave the house if it is safe to do so. Even if you walk to the end of your road or stand outside for a minute or two, let the fresh air hit your face.
Create a timetable
Take control of your day, instead of letting it take control of you. This is a really important part of the process. It enables you to ensure you fit everything important into your life including exercise, eating, work tasks and time with your family and friends (even if it is virtual time).
An example ‘work from home’ timetable;
0900 Work Time
1300 Lunch Break, with a walk
1400 Back to Work
1800 Family Time
Other people in the house need to know you are ‘at work’ during your allotted hours.
Separate your workspace
Create a work haven, a quiet and productive place. You may be working from home with a partner or housemate, I do suggest you use separate rooms where possible. Some people have a ‘meeting room’ where they can take calls without distracting the other person.
Your end of the day ritual
Tidy room, tidy mind. If you use the room for non-work related purposes outside of office hours, clear every single work item into a box at the end of the day. This ritual will prepare you for personal time. With your work tools out of sight and out of mind, you enable yourself to rest and reset. Change into comfortable clothing to tell your body it is time to unwind. Seeing as you would usually be commuting at this point, you can make time for a 10-minute meditation. If you haven’t yet tried it because previous routines haven’t allowed it, now is the time to integrate this into your life. This will enable you to switch off from your thoughts throughout the day and reset into relaxation mode so that you can enjoy your evening.
These four small changes to your routine will make the difference between a positive, productive experience instead of blurring each day into one continuous mess. If you start with one step, it has to be the schedule. Like anything, working from home can impact your mental health hugely. Removing chaos by creating structure will allow this impact of working from home in isolation to be positive, professional and productive.