Coronavirus: Tips for home working
With the vast majority of the population now working from home, it is important to note that for some people, working from home can put their mental health at risk, causing feelings of isolation and a disconnect from work. The feedback and encouragement they receive from their fellow co-workers can be critical to their productivity.
Your work setting
Whether you are working in the morning or evenings, it is essential to have the right lighting to help you concentrate. If you can, set up your workspace near a window so you can benefit from some natural light. If this isn’t possible, ensure you have a lamp which provides enough light, so you do not strain your eyes, but isn’t so bright that it gives you a headache.
A lot of people prefer to have a desk set-up but this isn’t for everyone. It is possible to be as productive from your dining table, sofa or even outside in your garden if the weather allows. You can also create a space suited for you – whether that is a potted plant or a motivational painting, these small changes can make a big difference.
Maintaining a routine
It is easy to fall out of a routine when working from home as you can feel as though you’ve lost the structure from your day.
Whether you are working from nine to five, five to midnight, or splitting out your working day, you must set your work hours to give you a routine to follow.
To start, ensure you have a ‘going to the office’ mindset every morning, afternoon or evening before you begin working. This can prepare you psychologically to start work.
Building in regular breaks during your working hours is also important. Whether that is just to get up to have a stretch, make a cup of tea or getting some fresh air in the garden, you need to keep your body agile in order to keep your mind fresh. Remember to eat regularly to keep your energy levels up.
Frequent distractions at home can easily disrupt a routine. Make sure anyone you live with knows your working pattern, so they know not to disturb you during these times.
Make sure you are getting enough rest and sleep to keep you functioning. Going to bed at a sensible and regular time will help you keep to your schedule.
Staying in touch
It is important to keep in contact with colleagues and others that you usually work closely with. Not only to keep up to date with everything work-related but also to check with their emotional and mental well-being. Rather than relying on email and instant messaging, pick up the phone or set up a video conference – this will be more stimulating and uplifting than a string of emails. We encourage the use of technology and cloud tools to help everyone keep in the loop. Video conferencing software such as StarLeaf or Skype are great alternatives to face to face meetings. Microsoft Teams can also be useful for this, as well as for sharing files and ideas amongst teammates.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be difficult when working from home and it can be hard to ‘switch off’. Make sure you are strict with the routine you have set yourself by turning off your computer/laptop and work phone as well as tidying away anything work-related at your specified finish time. This is particularly important if you are using your dining or living area as your workspace.
Above all, ensure you build in time during your day for the important things:
- Spending quality time with family
- Keeping in regular contact with friends and loved ones, particularly if they are on their own
Exercising within the Government guidelines or follow a workout video if you are unable to leave the house.