HOW TO ACE WORKING FROM HOME

Some great tips for making the transition without the endless struggle to get anything done

For those of you forced into it, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learnt about working effectively from home these last 18 months.

Work time is work time
Understand you are WORKING from home – especially in the early days it is easy to get side-tracked by doing chores (‘I will quickly hang out the washing/stick the dishwasher on/walk to the post office’). Behave exactly as you would in the office – get up and stretch often or get a cup of tea but do not allow yourself to focus on non-work things (you will only end up feeling guilty as you won’t do work or chores properly).

Create a schedule
Work out a schedule that allows for both home stuff and work stuff at certain times of the day. Aligning both schedules means families get plenty of time together (social interaction is very important) whilst also knowing when we need to focus on the ‘day job’. Try and match your schedule as closely as possibly to your ‘working in the office’ routine – it will work in your favour when things return to normal.

Stick to a routine
Be strict with yourself! Make sure to get up, shower, get dressed as you normally would. Have a dedicated and well organised work station. Both will make you feel better about yourself and about working from home. Organisation and routine mean that you maintain a sense of being in control during a time when so many things are out of our hands. (Also – you do not want to be that person on a surprise zoom call who is still in their pjs!)

Mental health toolkit
This is important at all times, but never more so than right now: please look after your mental health. You can provide your body with a ‘toolkit’ so it is strong enough to support your mental health through the difficult times ahead.
– eat well (try and incorporate a ‘rainbow of fruit and veg’ into your diet to get all necessary vitamins and minerals)
– drink plenty of water
-get enough sleep and
exercise regularly. It is a scientific fact that exercise boosts your immune system and is vital for your mental wellbeing. Take a few minutes 2-3 times a day to at least walk around the garden if you can. Try to do a home workout of sorts at least 2-3 times per week*, ideally outside. Vitamin D (sunlight) is so important. Likewise, if you start to feel lethargic and down, get some B12 vitamins from your pharmacy which will help (it is hard to get enough of this through our diet, but it’s really important).

Switch off
Leave the office! Where possible, switch off your laptop and work phone at a reasonable time – just as you would when leaving work. You need downtime to switch off and recharge, but it’s often tempting to ‘just quickly reply to this email’ or ‘do this last thing’. When you work from home your office is always there; it’s even worse if you receive your work emails on your private phone (try not to check unless you are waiting for something really important).

With the children off school it is important that you use a version of the above guidelines for them, too. I cannot stress enough that routine and fresh food, water, enough sleep and exercise in the fresh air will make a massive difference to how well we will all cope with the weeks and months ahead.

Kirsten Whitehouse is founder of www.bestyounow.co.uk and www.greentigerevents.com.