As the UK enters its 5th week of the shutdown as part of steps to contain the Coronavirus spread, the initial feelings of novelty and confusion over new working processes has, for some at least, been replaced by frustration and a case of the blues. It doesn’t help that the weather has been so good until recently that few people have had the opportunity to make the most of it, given the social-distancing rules in place.
So how can you keep things fresh and stop the blues setting in when working from home? At 5 Rings, our entire team are working from home and are encouraged to modify their work days if needed, to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing is looked after. We’ve come up with the following tips to make the best of the situation:
Have A Break, Stretch and Move
When working from home, your day can still operate in a similar way to how you work when in your workplace. If you have breaks at certain times during a regular day, then why not keep to that at home? It’ll keep your routine regular and break the day up.
It is recommend to take a break from your screen for 10 minutes or so every hour. This not only breaks up the day as a lunch/coffee break would, but also allows you to stretch, walk about…even do some exercise. Regular breaks will help stave off any feelings of tiredness or lethargy. If you are feeling ultra ‘up for it’ do the Joe Wickes Workouts. Half an hour per day will do you the world of good.
Mix It Up
Many businesses are now allowing for flexible working hours where possible – to not only allow for caring for children who are homeschooled, but also to keep their employees focused and happy. If you are struggling with working your 9-5 each day, then mix it up – start earlier or later if you need, or split your day in two with a longer break. Of course, speak to your employer and ensure this is possible within the needs of the business. You can also mix up your daily outdoors walk/exercise to a different time of the day to usual – that alone may be enough to give you variety.
Separate Your Workspace From Your Living Space
As tempting as it is, constantly working from the sofa each day may seem liberating at first, but it’s very important to separate your work space from your home space. Much like you would at your workspace, develop a ‘closing down’ routine – switch off the computer, close the door to the spare room you are using as an office…and keep it separate from where you relax and socialise with family.
Many people find that preparing for work the same way they do is another great way to separate work from home; wear your ‘work’ clothes whilst sitting at your desk and have the same post-work routine you would – take some exercise, or organise a ‘social-distancing’ event with friends using programs like Microsoft Teams, or Zoom.
Refresh Your Working Area
Many people find that they become distracted whilst working from home – that could be from influences such as family members/house mates also working or studying, but it could also be from background noise like having the TV on in the background. So mix it up a little- have some nice background music or the radio on…if you are able and the circumstances allow, change your workspace entirely – take the laptop outside into the garden if possible. We wouldn’t suggest this every day, but its nice every so often to keep things fresh and allow you to mix things up.
With the change in working habits and times, people may find it harder to arrange social activities on evenings and weekends. It has become harder to organise even the simplest things, like a quick catchup within your team or that project catchup…even trying to organise a meeting with a client or supplier to ensure work progresses.
By understanding and being sympathetic to everyone’s new working life can help your own stress – and people will appreciate it. If you need to be flexible too, you’ll be surprised how sympathetic people will be. We’re all in this together.
Find Time To Be Social!
If you have a regular trip to a bar with co-workers, or if you have a movie night with friends/partners then aim to find the time to keep these going. You will have a continued sense of normality, and for some it may be the only social interaction they have for some time…and they’ll really appreciate it. You don’t have to have a ‘theme’ night like a pub quiz or a specific event – even just a group of people on a Video chat, enjoying each others company can be huge for everyone’s mental well-being.