Our lives are getting ever smaller as social distancing and lockdowns spread throughout the world, making it harder than ever to separate our working and home lives. In a stressful time, the need to maintain structure is even more important for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Here are some tips to help, #wfh we have you sorted.
#1 Negotiate with housemates
If like most of us, you don’t usually work from home, you’re probably used to your workspace being designed so that you can get work done quickly and easily. As you get used to working from home it may become more annoying that your home is never quiet when you need to talk to a client or that someone is always sitting in that specific spot in the kitchen that has the best wifi signal. We’re are not suggesting you start ordering around your housemates, family or friends – especially while self-isolating. But, why not bring it up over breakfast and ask them if they could be especially quiet at 3pm because of your call; or request to bag the best WiFi spot for an hour before lunch for your critical project? And, be prepared to do the same for them, of course. Little negotiated adjustments like these mean you can all work smoothly from the same space.
#2 Set a routine
It could be all too easy, especially if you are a night owl, to use this time to have long lie-ins and work into the early hours, But living like this won’t benefit your mental health. Your sleep will be confused and you’ll end up spending far more time on your screens than is healthy. Though it may be frustrating at first, getting up on time and giving yourself time to get ready to ‘work’ as well as designating hours in which you ‘play’, will make your time at home a lot easier. As so many people are all working from home during the coronavirus pandemic there might also be an increase in employers expecting their employees to be available at all times, which could lead to an unhealthy working relationship. Nip that in the bud and set a routine!
#3 Create a physical workspace
Not everyone has the luxury of a home office or desk, especially if they are living with other working adults, or even children. So, in conjunction with setting a routine, we suggest you mark out a physical space which is only for work. This could be as simple as sitting at the other end of your bed facing the headboard if you have no other room. And as you will now be possibly working more on ‘home’ devices like your phone, separate your work apps from your home ones, Zoom from Skype etc, and put them all in different folders on your desktop and phone. Create little visual boundaries on your devices, to remind you what’s work and what’s play.
#4 Log off for leisure
Even before Coronavirus many of us used our screens too much, both at work and at home. We’ve been trying to draw attention to that since the beginning of the Time to Log Off movement. Now, that these parts of our lives are getting even more intertwined, we’re going to be spending more and more time online – at home. So, find ways to relax which don’t involve staring at a screen. It could be cooking a proper meal, with all the hours saved from your daily commute, more reading, or getting back into knitting, drawing or crafts. Whatever it is, find something to occupy you and get you into a mindful state of flow after a day on screens for work – it will help you to maintain your sanity and balance during this time of chaos.