Working from home during COVID-19
I don’t think any of us imagined the impact COVID-19 would have on our lives and daily routines when it was first mentioned back in December 2019. Fast forward four months and we now live in a world where working from home (for those of us that can) and leaving the house for essential shopping and 1 hour of daily exercise only is the norm.
For me personally, ‘lockdown’ started a little earlier than it did for most. I had an operation on my knee to repair a torn ACL ligament, so I had already become accustomed to working from home full time.
I’ve seen many articles/blogs written about the best ways to work from home and what people have found helpful.
Here are my top 5 tips that I’ve found most useful during these strange times…
1. Get dressed
For me, the most important thing during this lockdown is trying to continue as normally as possible and have some sort of routine. Getting showered and dressed as if you were heading to the office is the best possible way to start the day.
For some people, the prospect of staying in their pyjamas all day is the most tantalising aspect of working from home. But washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, but it will psychologically prepare you to start work.
Whether you need to change into business attire depends on the type of person you are and the nature of the job you have. Some people find that dressing formally is helpful and also useful if they need to dial into a video call.
But for many others, the point of getting dressed is being forced to shower and change out of clothes they associate with sleep and rest, even if that means just changing into a t-shirt and jeans.
2. Establish boundaries
For me personally, I’ve been very lucky that I work for a company that allowed home working, so already had a desk set up where I can work from. If space allows it, set aside a specific, separate area in your home where you can set yourself up - ideally with a desk and chair, similar to your workplace.
If you're employed by a company, you'll probably have set hours of work, and it's also important to stick to these when you're working from home. Be ready to start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive in your office or workplace and finish your day at the same time.
3. Get out and about
Working from home shouldn't mean you need to stay cooped up indoors all day. While you might not miss your daily commute, it does guarantee that you leave the house at least once during the day.
So, my advice; get outside and enjoy that fresh air. There’s certainly been times where I’ve felt like I’ve been banging my head against a wall and get stuck on certain tasks. A different perspective will also help undo mental blocks and give you a fresh pair of eyes for any tasks you're struggling with.
4. Keep in contact with colleagues
We are in a very fortunate position where calls via video can be done pretty easily. If you're working from home, the chances are you'll be alone, so daily contact is hugely important.
When you're at work, you're with colleagues and engaging throughout the day. But when you're working from home, you could spend the whole day without speaking to anyone which can be isolating.
At Scienta, we make sure we have a video call each morning and each afternoon. These calls are a really good way to catch up with colleagues and share the positives from each day. It’s also a really good way to motivate colleagues when things might not be going so well.
5. Take regular breaks
Even when you’re at the office, it’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around. So why shouldn’t you do that at home?
It’s been proven that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks. Perhaps use this time to go for a short walk around the house or check in with others that might also be in the house.