It’s now official that everyone who can be, should be working from home. This will make a huge difference for some of us, so here are a few handy tips to keep you active, motivated and in touch:
Unless you need to make specific changes to help your business, or to cope with sharing your home space with other members of your family, try and keep to your usual work schedule. Get up at the same time and work the core hours you would have done. Not only will this help you feel as if you are “at work”, but it will also make it easier for customers, colleagues and others to realise that you are still open for business.
If you have to work from the kitchen table or your bedroom, it can be very difficult to separate home life from business. One thing that can help, is to take a walk first thing after breakfast so that you have the feeling of arriving at work.
Putting on your work clothes can change your mindset, attitude and motivation. It also helps to be looking the part if you get an unexpected video call!
If possible, set aside a dedicated space where you can set up the things you need for your work and leave them there at the end of the day. This will also make it clearer to family members to recognise that while you are in your workspace you are not to be interrupted.
TABLE OR DESK
Your kitchen table may not be the ideal height to act as a desk, so check whether you need to find a different chair or add a cushion. Or try improvising a stand-up desk using an ironing board or those delivery boxes you haven’t yet put out for recycling. Remember, though, that these may not be as stable as a proper table or desk, so do be careful about balancing your laptop, phone and other expensive devices!
When you share a workspace with other people, you are likely to move around to speak to colleagues, or even just shift in your chair to see what’s happening on the other side of the office. When you are working alone, it’s important to be conscious of not staying in one position for too long. Do some stretching or desk exercise to reinvigorate yourself.
TAKE A BREAK
Don’t stay at your desk for too long at one stretch. Use a timer app to remind you to change position, stand up and stretch, or go and make a coffee. (Remember you can do those exercises while waiting for the kettle to boil.) But don’t feel that you have to eat a biscuit every time you pause!
LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOW
Too much screen time is bad for you. Even if there’s nothing going on in the street, take a few minutes to look out of the window; it isn’t daydreaming, it’s good for your eyes to change the focus.
Take a proper lunch break away from the computer. This may be the best time for your daily walk – or run – when there is the most daylight, which is good for mental health.
If you have a garden, do at least 5 mins of gardening a day. Or tend to your balcony or house plants. Again, plants are beneficial to mental health. This is more important than ever while we have limited personal contact.
Call people instead of emailing all the time. Video calls are even better. If you are working away from your team, keep in regular touch so that no one feels isolated – this is not just about your own mental health, but also that of others. Ring a friend or family member to break the day up. But do try and keep personal calls to your break times, so you keep business separate from domestic life.
WHAT’S YOUR SOUNDTRACK?
It’s tempting to be constantly watching for all the latest updates, but TV can demand too much of your attention, so try to leave the television until the end of your working day. Music and radio can be great company for a lot of people, but think about the impression they make, or the distraction they cause, if you are making calls. Also remember that music affects your mood, so be aware of what soundtrack you choose for your day.
This is a vital element of modern life but can also be a huge time waster. Think about whether you are using it productively or simply to avoid getting work done. Again, all the doom and gloom can have an effect on your mood, so be aware of what’s coming in on your updates feed.
END THE DAY
If you’re fortunate enough to have a dedicated workspace, tidy up your desk, switch off your laptop and close the door, making a clear separation between business and home life. If you are in a shared domestic space, pack up your papers and laptop and clearly make the space available for personal use again.
How do you maintain your work-life balance and make homeworking more productive and enjoyable?
Written by Gwyneth Box, Tantamount
Tantamount is a creative agency that specialises in simplifying the complex and communicating unfamiliar concepts clearly through well-chosen words and thoughtful design.