As the new #stayhome way of life starts its second week, you may be feeling the added pressure to keep up your usual workload whilst working from home. The once appealing thought of the 'work from home' lifestyle ie. long lie ins, 0 hour commutes, is now a necessity, and possibly not as easy as once thought. Here are a few tips that might help ease you into to your new normal.
As we settle into the second week of our ‘new normal’ we will either be accepting this new way of life, or fighting against it. The novelty of working from home (WFH) was possibly strong on day one, even day two went without a hitch. However, as we settle into week 2, the new WFH lifestyle, mixed with children, pets or interruptions, might need adjustments.
There is no ‘one size fits all approach to working from home, especially if your home is not set up with a designated office. Instead you have to try new things, adapt and adjust and if you keep at it, you will find what works for you. The main thing to remember is to go easy on yourself and if something isn’t working, adjust. This is a new challenge, one that your team members are a part of, so ask for help if you need it. Communicate, connect and don’t take on the challenge alone.
Handy Hints when working from home
The Morning Routine
Every morning change out of your pyjamas and get dressed for work. It sounds silly, but it is an important to start the day like you normally would. Get up, shower, breakfast etc. If you usually walk or ride a bike to work, why not go for a walk or ride around the block. This will help clear your mind, increase energy levels and keeps your usual routine, which is also great for your mental health and daily mindset.
Choose a designated work area that is ideally not your bed or couch. You’ll want plenty of light (natural or electric) and enough space for your computer/laptop; a space that feels functional, inspiring, productive and gives you a positive feeling. Maybe add a vase of flowers, a mood board or your favourite mug; make sure it works for you.
Background noise is so important. A workplace will always have background noise and chatter, so working in a quiet house can feel lonely and isolating. Listen to the radio, a TED talk, a playlist – check out Spotify Mood Booster, it’s my personal go to.
Keep your day as similar to your working day as possible, define your working hours and be adaptable.
Firstly, write a to do list and make it realistic. You should add your breaks, so you are working a timeline, plus add known interruptions.This might be hanging out the washing, going for a walk, helping the kids or walking the dog, if these are things you plan to do. This way your aren’t feeling guilty or frustrated with yourself when you have these interruptions and can finish your day feeling positive and productive.
Stay connected with colleagues – whether you are video conferencing, on a what’s app group, skype of FB chat, keep in contact with the people who represent work. This will help you feel connected and less ‘isolated’ plus will ensure you are all on the same page. Be sure to have both face to face time as well as chat.
Go easy on yourself
Accept Interruptions. Interruptions are going to happen, especially if you have a full house. Don’t spend your day feeling frustrated or flustered that things aren’t going to plan, instead expect that your day will have more interruptions than usual. Create a household plan, incorporate work hours vs free hours and a loose timetable of what everyone will be doing. This way everyone knows other people’s expectations and needs and you can adapt as a household.
You might create a signal ie if I have a red cup on my table I am working or you shut the door when on a call/in a meeting, otherwise the door is open. What ever works for everyone. Pets may be a different story though….
It’s an Adjustment
Remember to breathe. Working from home, when your are used to 40 hours in the office, isn’t the easiest and may take some adjustment. Don’t be too hard on yourself and if you find yourself feeling isolated or lacking motivation, step outside and take in some fresh air. If you feel lonely, give a colleague a call. You are all in this together and will all face different struggles throughout the process. Stay connected, stay positive and remember the common goal that you are working towards.
Stay safe and be kind.