Jersey Library’s Guide to; Staying Sane Whilst Working From Home During a Pandemic….
Working from Home Tips & Tricks for Wellness and Productivity
Working remotely has many benefits and whilst those of us who are able to keep working from home in the midst of the covid-19 mayhem should be considered fortunate, it does take dedication and smart strategies to successfully implement and ensure our own mental health is looked after also. Working from home can present a unique set of challenges not faced when we are in our normal workplaces, especially when it comes to your health. This post is here to provide some simple tips and tricks to maintaining both wellbeing and productivity whilst working from home (WFH).
1. Create / maintain a morning routine.
This can involve anything that works for you. A cup of coffee or tea is usually a favourite in most morning routines! You could also include a shower and getting dressed, yoga, exercise or meditation. Just try and do something that starts your day off well and ends with you starting your work day.
2. Create a designated work space & set boundaries.
Choose and set up a separate and comfortable space in your home which is reserved only for work, preferably with a desk that allows you to view your computer at eye level. Even if you live in a tiny studio, set up a desk and chair and separate the professional from the personal. All too often it can be tempting to keep checking the work emails after we have finished our working hours or feel as if we must respond to every message or enquiry as we are WFH. According to the latest studies however, engaging in work-related activities beyond regular work hours results in employees having too little time to rest and replenish their energy through leisure or sleep. Try to set a strict schedule for work-related activities, outside of those hours, spend the time with your loved ones.
3. Set boundaries the other way..
Just as you set a strict schedule with work hours it is also advisable to talk with your loved ones at home and set boundaries so they know that when you are working you also need quiet and minimal distraction from them. Set clear rules such as; when the door is closed or I am in my special work space I am not to be disturbed unless absolutely necessary.
4. Set a Schedule.
Figure out when your most productive work happens for you, take into account any needs your family or partner who is also WFH might have and then work together to set a routine.. and stick to it! It might be that you do your best work early in the morning or maybe late at night. Working from home means you can play to these strengths but just remember to schedule in breaks for rest and nourishment or even playtime!
5. Do something good for yourself!
Implement self care and work some sort of exercise into your above mentioned schedule for added mental health and wellness benefits. Try and get at least 15-30 minutes of exercise a day and don't forget to take your daily walk in the fresh air and get your dose of vitamin D from the sunshine, which is also extremely beneficial for our mental health. We are currently allowed outside for exercise and the weather is so beautiful lately so enjoy responsibly (staying within the 2 hour window) and remember to maintain social distancing at all times. With the current situation there are multiple free or affordable offerings online from yoga teachers, meditation instructors, and a vast array of home workouts, dance classes and other fun ways to move your body so try and take advantage of the silver linings where you can find them.
6. Human connection.
It’s important to have some social connection, even in the physical absence of coworkers. Try and maintain communication with both your work colleagues and your friends / family. Telecommuting thrives when there’s an emphasis on trust and communication. Plus, regular check-ins with your team can help identify priorities and potential obstacles and keep people accountable. Beyond communication with work make sure you take time to connect with friends or family and having a good laugh when you can. Laughing reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and releases endorphins (just to name a few!) and maintaining healthy social connections improves your overall well-being and helps you stay motivated.
7. Create an end of work day routine
Just as you begin each day with a routine to get you into 'work mode' it is advisable to have a little routine to work your way out of it too. It could be as simple as writing a to-do list for the next day's work whilst it is all still fresh in your mind, closing the laptop and leaving the work space for the evening. Maybe you go for your walk to end the day, whatever it is make it your official end of day and try not to peep at anymore emails until you are due to work the next day again!
The important thing is to find out what works for you, try and settle into your ‘new normal’ and above all be gentle with yourself. Even if you don't follow any of this advice, work from bed the whole time and don’t do any exercise except for reaching for more snacks, just remember to not be hard on yourself. We are all doing the best we can right now but I can assure you that moving your body or getting out for even a short walk will not be time (or effort) wasted.