Working from home
1. Think about what you’re going to wear
For some people, the prospect of staying in their pyjamas all day is one of the best aspects of working from home! But washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, it will psychologically prepare you to start work.
Some people find that changing into business wear allows them to get into the right frame of mind – and helps when they’re doing video calls! For others, jeans and T-shirts are OK. Clothes help you to structure your day; wearing business wear while working and casual wear once you’ve ‘clocked off’ helps your brain maintain some structure to what you’re doing.
2. Establish some boundaries
Where possible, stick to your normal hours of work. This allows clear boundaries between work and home life. At the end of your working day, switch off the computer and tidy away desk clutter so that you can start the next day afresh.
3. Get out and about
Exercise is free and a key way to reduce anxieties and calm your body and mind. Try to get outside before other people are around or walk around your garden if you have one. Alternatively use online exercise videos to help get the much-needed endorphin rush. Here’s an example family exercise.
4. Pick up the phone and stay (virtually) connected
Being away from the distractions of the office can be one of the perks of home working, but the flip side is that you may not speak to anyone all day. Make sure this doesn’t become isolating by phoning colleagues and maintaining contact with friends. Try utilising team apps which allow groups to come together for video conferences. If you are having persistent challenges at home, speak to your manager for support.
5. Take regular breaks
When you’re in the flow of work, it’s easy to forget to take a break. Our bodies aren’t meant to sit in the same position in front of a laptop all day. Our workspaces at home may also be less than perfect in their set-up which increases the need for regular postural changes and breaks.
Research has found that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks. For home workers, the Pomodoro Technique, a method of time management that breaks your working day into 25 or 55 minute chunks, can really help. Each chunk is followed by a five-minute break, which is the time to readjust your posture, stretch and move.
6. Manage your exposure to the news and social media
The constant stream of information can be exhausting and lead to repetitive negativity and fear. Manage your time to allow only short bursts of exposure to keep you up to date with the changes.
7. Develop a new family timetable
It will be impossible to maintain normal routines. Create a new structure – factor in scheduled times for work, exercise and fun along with some downtime for everyone in the household. Develop plans for getting up, managing household tasks etc, review them at the end of the week and make any necessary changes.
Lastly, I’d like to provide links to some sources of further help and guidance.
- The NHS site Every Mind Matters has tips to help if you’re worried about the
- Mind, the mental health charity, has advice about your wellbeing.
- From next week you’ll be able to access The Yellow Book, an inspirational resource developed by experts in mental health challenges. Keep an eye out for further information very soon.
8. Consider your own wellbeing
Wellbeing means being in a positive physical, social and mental state. Wellbeing is important to us as individuals, as it fundamentally impacts on the quality of our life. It is important to us as a University, as happy, healthy people who achieve harmony in their work / life mix are more creative, productive and help to create a great place to work.