While 4-million people in the UK already worked from home before the Coronavirus outbreak, there’s many who have only just started. If you’re one of the latter, your new working environment might feel like a big lifestyle change. You’ve lost your usual routine, you’re working by yourself and everything is virtual; using the likes of Slack, Zoom and / or Microsoft Teams to catch up with your colleagues and clients.
You’ll have quickly realised remote working has its perks; no daily commute, dress-down day is every day and (if we weren’t staying inside due to a pandemic) you’d probably have a better work-life balance. Remaining productive whilst working from home however can be a struggle, especially when you’re first getting used to it. Here’s five things to try that’ll keep you focused on work and your stress levels low during lockdown.
Separate work from home as much as possible
Choose a room or area of your house as your dedicated workspace to create boundaries between your homelife and job. Start working at the time you usually would and stop when you’d normally finish. This’ll prevent you from getting distracted and help you concentrate because you’ll mentally associate your designated area with work.
Make a routine that motivates you and stick to it
Your usual routine may have stopped, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a new one. Stick to your working hours, take your lunch break every day and keep a consistent sleeping pattern.
Add healthy eating habits into your routine too, like only drinking alcohol and ordering takeaways on weekends. A balanced diet will boost your productivity, motivate you and help you keep that “Friday Feeling” when you clock off for the weekend. Retaining this sense of routine normality will impact how you work and feel for the better.
Plan what you can
As you would in the office, chat with your team regularly to plan priorities for the day, week or month ahead. The current climate will most likely mean that whatever plan you had in place for the year has had to change, but just tailor it accordingly – even if it is on an ad-hoc basis – and regularly create to-do lists of what you want to complete and by when. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment once actioned and remind yourself that you are achieving your goals.
Push yourself to take advantage of your one form of outdoor exercise per day. Getting outside refreshes your mind, relieves stress and works wonders for your mental health. This’ll fit nicely into your daily routine (it’s not like we should be going anywhere else?!), whether it’s on your lunch hour or after work. Take time to workout at home as well, there’s loads of free YouTube videos available for you and the kids!
Use lockdown time wisely
We’ve all got a lot more spare time so it’s important we spend it wisely to avoid feeling anxious and falling into the trap of overthinking. Spend your evenings and weekends learning new skills or taking up new hobbies like listening to podcasts, cooking or learning a new language. Connect with your friends and family regularly too, play games and have a laugh to take your mind off everything. You’ll find yourself feeling fresh, relaxed and ready to work because you’ve had a proper break.
Ultimately, the shift to remote working can be a significant one but with the right mindset and tools you can really use this time to your, and your company’s, advantage. Who knows, you might even find it works better for you and / or your team in the long run, so embrace it!
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