Most of the world is now stuck indoors and working from home. Many may start to feel the strain of the isolation and it can make us unproductive, lethargic, and can even affect our mental health. Humans are innately social creatures and isolation is known to have effects on our psychological and physical well being. So let's look at some ways we can keep ourselves sane, safe, and still manage to get the work done! In this first part we’ll be looking at the set up of your work area.
Distractions - Good or bad?
Music or TV?
There are certain things when working from home that’ll help some people and hinder others. For example, I can’t have the TV on at all, as I get too sucked in with what’s going on, but I also can’t sit in silence, it makes the room feel too empty. A happy medium for me is to put the radio on a low volume. I don’t have to concentrate on the song choice, there are people speaking, and for me this feels more like an office setting.
You might be totally different and only you can gauge what your levels of distraction are. It’ll take a bit of trial and error for you to find out what’s the best working environment for you. You might need total silence or you might be someone (like me) who needs some background noise. Just make sure that whatever it is, it makes your work the priority.
Getting up and about?
The temptation of working at home, because you don't have the hustle and bustle of the office, is to constantly be getting up; to make tea/coffee, tidy up/wash dishes and deal with household issues, all because you get restless when sitting down for too long. Then that's it, you aren’t concentrating at all on your work! Something that may help you is to create yourself a work schedule the night/week before and pop in a couple of breaks, which will give you something to look forward to but also allow you to give your undivided attention to work. You can even set an alarm/timer to make sure you stick to it!
Keeping your mind focussed is key so when you do have these breaks, it’s a good idea to schedule in a couple minutes of stretching and movement, to help you keep awake and avoid the aches and pains of sitting still for too long.
Also, if you’re working a full day, make sure you schedule a proper lunch break. It’s important to refuel and hydrate and it gives you a proper breather away from your work so you go back into it with a clearer head.
Location, location, location!
Where your work space is set up will help massively with how productive you are and how your mindset is affected for the rest of the day. There are a few very lucky souls that have an office space in their house, where they can close the door, get into work mode, finish up, close the door and forget about it until the next day (if only!). For those of us who don’t, you’ll want to find a space that gives you the following:
Work and home life balance
Try not to work anywhere you associate with comfort, leisure, fun (personal fun since work can be fun too!), or family time. You want to keep those areas as separate as possible so you don’t have them blend together which will muddy the water of when it’s work time and when it’s your own time. So try to avoid working in these areas:
There are always exceptions to the rules, as some of you may have no choice but to work in one of these areas and, if that’s the case, there’s still something you can do. You need to separate your work life from your home life by making sure that, when you’ve finished your work, it’s completely out of sight. Put your folders and paperwork somewhere safe and make sure your laptop/desktop is away and shut down. This allows you to focus on work when you’re working and drop that when you ‘clock off’. You need time for you.
These are just some of the ways you can keep yourself in ‘work’ mode in a setting you don’t usually work in and help separate things to make sure you can still enjoy your house as your home.
Alex Louise is a member of the Operations team at Harvey John.
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