The unfortunate state of the world right now means that, for those of us who can, we are working from home to protect ourselves, loved ones and others from the virus. We have all done this lockdown working from home gig once before, and for the most part, it was all a new experience or something that we didn’t quite get the hang of it properly. So below I have outlined a few major points that have really worked well in this temporary change of lifestyle that could really help you work well from home.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
This is so important – not only for yourself but for the success of your job. You need to find yourself a place that is comfortable, with no distractions and somewhere that you can sensibly use your computer and peripherals. And before you think it, no, your bed is probably the worst idea for a place to work.
If you’ve not got the right furniture to allow yourself this space, you can pick up a table from Ikea for £16 and a nice folding chair for as little as £7. This is the set up that I’ve personally got and it works great. The chair is a lot more comfortable than you’d expect!
2. Set a Routine
When you’re setting yourself down to work, have a think about your working hours. It’s so easy to start earlier and finish later since you are home and you’ve no longer got any commute times to worry about. Set yourself a routine and stick to it. Make a coffee just before you start your working day, include a mid-morning break, give yourself a full hour lunch break and build in ‘watercooler’ breaks too. It may be worth having a quick five-minute catch up with a colleague as you would normally do in the office environment, nattering away about how Karen thinks her political beliefs are the only ones that make sense.
3. Wear Clothes
Okay, of course you’re going to be wearing clothes… I hope. But what I mean is wear sensible clothes for your working time. Stick with me here; when working at home it is so easy to sit around in your pyjamas or lounge wear and slob away at your computer but in order to help you get into the right mindset, get yourself into some clothes that will help with that. You needn’t worry putting on your three-piece suit and tie but some clothes that you can change out of when you’ve finished your shift. This helps differentiate your home life from your working life.
4. Take a Break
Following on from Step 2, make sure you’re taking a lunch break and that you’re taking the full allocated time. Your mental health is more important than ever right now and not taking your breaks and ‘pushing through’ could lead you to burning out quicker. And if you’re not separating home and work life properly, it would be hard to bring yourself to learn to relax if that did happen.
During the first lockdown, everyone was hit hard, so I used my lunch break to eat my food and set myself a fun mini-project. I like photography and Photoshop so during my breaks I set up a mini photoshoot, depicting different scenes so that I could share with my colleagues at the end of each day. This really helped me because I got to give my attention to something fun and creative whilst stepping away from my work.
Otherwise, something that would be quite good is to schedule your colleague or friend to take their breaks at the same time and phone them and go for a walk around the neighbourhood to keep you distracted and to leave your house safely!
5. Make a Brew, Have a Stretch!
I’ve recently written a blog interviewing our own DotGO health guru and designer, John, about the importance of stretching during your working day. This doesn’t have to be only during your working from home phase but wherever you’re working and sitting down for long periods of time. The benefits for your energy are tremendous and it really helps to alleviate common aches and pains.