How to work from home
Working from home means that you may get an extra half an hour in bed, depending how long your morning commute to the office normally is! It is important that you maintain some kind of routine in your new (allbeit tempororary) way of working. Routines create structure and predictability, which i'm sure you will agree is rare at the moment. Having a routine will help you maintain that crucial work/life balance when it is most at risk. It will also promote productivity.
- Set your alarm: This will help to keep your body clock regular, which will help you to sleep better at night.
- Exercise: Try and squeeze in some exercise, meditation or quiet time if you can. Maybe you normally walk to work, relax on the train or bus journey to the office, and squeeze in a gym session before work. If not, there has never been a better time than to introudce this as a new habit. Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It can also reduce stress.
- Set meal/break times: Your usual routine has probably gone out of the window. You no longer have the scents coming from the office kitchen to prompt you that it's lunch time. Set an alarm on your phone, or let your manager know when you are planning to take your lunch. This will also give you something to look forward to throughout the morning. During your break, close your laptop and try to forget about work.
Treat your work space like an office
You wouldn't rock up to the office in the same clothes you slept in, half eaten breakfast in hand at 08:59. Nor would you leave papers scattered all over your desk. It is really important to maintain your professionalism at this time, and treat your work space like you would in the office. This is especially important if the people you live with are also working from home. Be conscious of noise, smells and all the other things you would consider in an office environment. Agree whether or not you'd like background music, and if calls should be taken in a private area.
Look after yourself
Try to drink plenty of water, reduce snacking on unhealthy foods and try to maintain a well-balanced diet. Working from home isn't a holiday, and binging on unhealthy foods throughout the day is going to have negative effects on both your physical and mental health. Prep your snacks and lunch the night before to avoid temptation when you need to grab something quickly. When you leave the house to do your essential grocery shop, try to pick up lots of fruit and vegetables if they are available. Limit the unhealthy snacks you buy, because that way if it isn't in the house, you can't have it! Please remember that if you are self-isolating you will not be able to collect your own groceries, so be sure to ask whoever is helping you with this to get you a variety of healthy food.
Avoid sitting in your living room with your favourite series on the go, or attempting to work right next to where your children are. Not everyone has access to a completely spare room, but do what you can to minimise distraction. You still have a job to do, and although your employer will be mindful of individual situations at the moment, you do still need to make some contribution. If you are struggling with the silence, try putting the radio on in another room in the house, this will mimic the office environment you are used to but will remain as background noise.
Make a conscious effort to stay in touch with your work colleagues, and manager. You could set up a group video call, a group chat, or just check in on one another regularly. If you are struggling, be sure to inform your manager or one of your team members so they can offer support.