Working from Home: Tips to Keep You (relatively) Sane
We’ve advocated embracing remote work on this blog before, but no one expected such a sudden turnaround.
Thanks to Coronavirus, entire companies have had to go remote, basically overnight.
A lot of people have found themselves having to jump in at the deep end and get to grips with an all-new way of working. If that’s you, then we’ve got some simple tips to help you stay in control of your work-life when you work from home, and improve your well-being.
1. Don’t be too hard on yourself
When you work from home, a lot of people will overcompensate for the initial slight drop in efficiency by working even harder and neglecting their own needs. Long term, this is only going to make you burn out. It’s important to make time for self-care.
‘To work smarter and healthier, it helps to adopt a level of self-control and a set of boundaries when working remotely. ‘- Haily Griffis, Buffer
– Set yourself a lunch break, and stick to it! It’s all too easy to find yourself working through lunch and getting too hungry to think properly.
– Make a point of creating a clear divide between rest and work (ideally literally). Put away your equipment and paperwork when you’re done for the day. Close the door to your study if you have one. Most importantly, don’t leave work things lying around in your rest space. You don’t want to still be in ‘Work Mode’ when you’re trying to relax.
– Make time for your hobbies. Take walks and get some fresh air if it’s safe to do so. Don’t allow work to take over your life, just because it lives with you!
– Things may be feeling a little scary and surreal right now. Wellness has never been more important. Consider taking the time to invest in some meditation/relaxation apps such as Calm. Avoid reading news sites during the day. Some tools have already been set up to help with Coronavirus anxiety. Don’t be afraid of taking the time to reset yourself.
2. Stay Motivated
Loads of companies have voiced concern that employees won’t work hard without the accountability of being in an office. While we think this fear can be overstated, it is really easy to find yourself slipping into bad habits that make working harder than it needs to be.
– While you can do your work at any time of the day, that doesn’t mean you should. Get up at the same time every day, sign off at the same time and keep a consistent routine.
– If you’re lucky enough to have a home office, use that, but otherwise take some time to set up your workspace so that it’s comfortable while still allowing you to stay focused. Avoid using your bedroom if at all possible, it’s important you associate that room with rest.
– The same goes for clothes! Everyone knows not to wear PJs in your home office, but what should you wear instead? We’d recommend business casual- it’s way less tempting to procrastinate with chores or relaxing when you’re in work clothes.
– Avoid doing your work in bed! This will actually make it harder for you to sleep and to work- it’s basically the worst of all worlds. [Source]
– If you find yourself easily tempted by social media and other websites, here are a variety of website blockers and productivity boosters to give you an extra kick
3. Stay Social
One of the major drawbacks of remote work is the fact that it can get pretty lonely. Luckily, it’s never been easier to stay in contact with your colleagues with Slack and Google Hangouts. Combine this with the website blockers if you need to alternate between periods of focus and periods of social interaction.
– Virtual lunches- Share photos of what you’re having for lunch, recipes that are easy to cook from home, and recommend local restaurants that are still offering delivery. Great for foodies.
– Exercise hangouts- from accountability threads where you can post your current regime to sharing tips for staying healthy while the lockdown is in place, this is a great way to support everyone’s mental and physical wellbeing.
– Game nights- with platforms like Discord and Tabletop Simulator, it’s really easy to play board games and video games remotely. See if there’s any interest in some cooperative games, a competitive office FIFA league, or some old-fashioned tabletop games.
– Pet Channel- We’ve all seen the posts of cats and dogs invading video calls. Why wait? Create a channel to share photos of pets!
– Face to Face- If you’re not already having them, consider asking your team if it’s possible to have a short video conference once a day. It’s much easier to identify problems and solutions and to tell people what you’re doing when you can all see and talk to each other (plus it’s good to see other faces!)
– Reach out – especially to people who live alone. Everyone is in the same boat right now. Help each other.
The current situation won’t last forever, but there’s a good chance that companies will be looking into remote work strategies for the future. Good habits now will last you a lifetime.
Don’t worry about getting it perfectly right. Nobody is! Focus on doing the best job you can, get your schedule set in your head and the rest will fall into place.