Working from home is amazing, right up until the cat throws up on your computer. And your neighbour, whom you can only assume is building a time machine, starts firing up all sorts of power tools and noisy machinery across the street. Due to the pandemic, it has changed everything, and we have all had to adjust to new ways of living and working. There are some perks to working from home that some of us can enjoy (bye-bye commute!), but feeling stress, boredom, anxiety, and uncertainty is also completely normal. These simple tips can help you while working at home, to feel more productive and take care of your mental health during these difficult times.
1. Set And Stick To A Routine
Without steady schedules, the lines between work and personal time can get blurred and be stressful to get right. To stay on schedule, segment what you’ll do and when over the course of the day. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and start on new tasks. Most importantly, when your workday stops, stop working, and don’t continue. Enjoy shutting down your computer, stop checking emails, and focus on your home/personal life. At the end of the day, try to get to bed at your usual time.
2. Dedicated Workspace
Just because you’re not working at an office doesn’t mean you can’t, well, have an office. If you can, find a quiet space away from people and distractions like the TV (or the kitchen, when you feel snacky). Get everything you need in one place, before you start work such as chargers, pens, paper, and anything else. This is optional, but you could shut the door if you can, to avoid distraction and sounds from around the house. Rather than cooping yourself up on the couch or spaces that are associated with leisure time, ensure you designate an area or room as your workspace.
3. Stay Connected
While working from home has its benefits, you may also feel more isolated. Remember, you’re working from home, not the moon. Interacting with other people during the day is allowed, even if they’re not your co-workers. But there are lots of ways to stay in touch with those who matter boosting their mental wellbeing as well as our own. In and out of work, human interaction matters so schedule video calls with your colleagues instead of emailing. If you’re struggling with working at home, speak to your colleagues or manager about your concerns. You never know if your colleagues are probably feeling the same as you! Ask how they’re doing and whether there are ways you can support each other.
4. Set Boundaries
Of course, you might be working from home but still have “company.” Setting boundaries with other members of your household is key to mental wellbeing while working at home. Make sure any roommates, siblings, parents, children, spouses, and dogs (well, maybe not dogs) respect your space during work hours. However, this may be difficult if there are other distractions especially from young children at home, who may think you are on holiday and want to spend time with you. Discuss your needs, especially with family. Remind them that you still have work to do and need quiet time to do it, and share your schedule.
5. Prepare Your Meals The Night Before
When you’re in your own home, it can be tempting to spend time preparing a nice breakfast and lunch for yourself, chopping, and cooking included. Don’t use precious minutes making your food the day of work, it’s better to cook it the night before. Preparing food ahead of time ensures you can use your meal times to eat, and that you aren’t performing non-work tasks that spend energy better used at your desk.