What occurred as a novelty in the first half of last year, now seems as though it is here for the long-haul. Like many, your employer or organisation may have arranged for you to work from home. Like many, it’s possible you were expected to make the switch over-night and were given no follow-up strategies or set of guidelines to make working from home effective and efficient without it impacting negatively and being detrimental to your mental health and general headspace. Given your laptop and assignments and sent on your way. Not good enough!
The novelty probably will (and has) worn off for most by now. You need to have healthy habits and regular routines in place to ensure you’re focused and productive during working hours and you have the ability to properly switch off after you sign out each evening. I’ve compiled a list of habits I feel will greatly benefit you:
1. Set a routine and Stick to it. Do not leave working hours and personal hours become muddled together. Rise at the same, regular time each morning. Carry out your usual morning routine. Include your usual “commute” time but utilise it. Read, walk, stretch, cook. Most importantly be strict on finishing times. When your usual working hours stop, stop working.
2. Create a dedicated work space. An office or work station work’s really well. If you don’t have this at your disposal, designate an area in the house free of distraction and interuptance. Make sure it’s comfortable and you have everything you need in one place.
3. Take regular breaks. It can feel like we are expected to be “online” and “available” all the time. This is fine, until it begins to affect your mental health, and over time, it will. Break’s from stressful situation’s and pressure are essential – include a proper lunchbreak and regular shorter break’s in your working day.
4. Working from home promotes isolation. Staying connected has never been so important. Arrange a virtual coffee or catch up with friends, colleagues (away from work hours) or family. Virtually socialise and interact – it’s vitally important for us all.
5. Time Management. “To Do List’s” should be your new best friend. Learn more about, and improve, managing your time. Implement the 4 D’s of email/work load stress management:
Delete: applies to approximately 50% of the emails you receive
Do: if it’s urgent or can be completed quickly
Delegate: if someone else is free/can deal with it better
Defer: longer task’s. Need specific time set aside to complete these
6. Be kind and forgiving to yourself. Acknowledge the situation, alien and unknown to us all. Do what you can, as you can. Productivity might slower than usual, focus might be blurred. Distraction is everywhere. Do what you can, as you can, and regardless, relax when you’re working day is done.