Devastating news for me last week – my company will not re-open offices until all worldwide offices are safe to do so. And with one in the heart of NYC, and Donald Trump at the helm, walking back into a office, for me, looks like something set for 2021! *Gulp*
I know, I shouldn’t complain. My company have been ruddy brilliant at putting staff health above profit. We have been supported in every way possible and I’m incredibly lucky to have the chance to work in the safety of my own home. But damn, I will miss those chit chats over the boiling kettle with my colleagues.
It was after this news that I realised I probably can’t continue with my shoddy excuse of a routine. Especially if I was to be productive throughout this whole process! I have been working from home for a little over 2 months, and with very little space in my home, it has been very much a bodge job.
I won’t be alone in feeling like my full potential has not been met working from home. It’s hard to concentrate, and distinguish home from work. I find myself demotivated and frustrated from being within the same space to work, be productive and then relax and unwind after the day.
It’s certainly a strange and surreal experience we find our self in, now working from home when we are all so used to a office environment.
But with our usual office environments, we all had a little more structure, a routine per-say. Is that what we are all missing, beside the aimless chit chat over the boiling kettle?
Yes, yes yes.
Most of us have been plunged into working from our own home with little to no idea on how to ace it. And whilst prior to Covid plenty of us would have been intrigued at working from home, we can’t help but felt out of depth and eager to get back to the office because it just isn’t working.
We are not tired. We are staying up later. We are eating wayyy more than usual. We are often getting dressed at lunch and even then it’s sweats. We are a lazier edition of our former self. Having a routine can reverse our sleeping patterns, and help us ace that WFH malarkey.
Finding your Focus and motivation
Having a routine is crucial in maintaining focus on your work. We are all feeling the negative effects of working alone, and without colleagues who would usually be easily accessible.
Being focused on your workload, and being motivated to actually do your role from home are the two most important factors in nailing working from home successfully.
Part and parcel of being motivated and focused on your workload is having a routine. Having a clear structure to your day can help catergorise your working hours, and define your workload.
Your routine will not be a mirror of that routine you had defined when working in a office, but it is good practice to keep as much normality as you can, despite your new working environment.
Here’s some ways to define a new working routine that will help focus you on your workload and motivate you to work from home.
I know, no commute means more time in bed – but that’s causing you more home than good. Keep that usual alarm on, and use your extra time to get up and get ready for your day of work. Even if you scroll through instagram in bed, just being awake keeps your usual body clock ticking over.
I used to have my brekkie at my desk around 9:30am. But my late alarm, morning conference and still being in pjs till 12pm strangely stopped me from having breakfast, and much rather a bigger, fattier lunch.
Make a conscious effort to have breakfast. It’s one of the most important meals of the day, don’t miss it because you’re being lazy. It can help with focus for your early morning tasks.
Keep snacking to a minimum, and healthy
You probably had the odd biscuit in the office with your cuppa, but having the kitchen cupboard just a few paces away is certainly a distraction for those frequent and often unhealthy snack sessions.
Try and keep any snacking to a absolute minimum , or make healthier choices. Have a bottle of water besides you whilst working, and perhaps have a bowl of fruit with you too. This will stop you having to head to the kitchen often, and you’ll have a healthy alternative at hand when you do get peckish.
Cut down your lunch portions
Skipping meals, like breakfast, makes you damn hungry around lunch time. You are then more likely to make a large, unhealthy lunch – fairly different from your usual sandwich you had back at the office. Be conscious of this – large meals will make you tired and sluggish – a real mood killer for WFH.
You are now spending a lot of time staring at a screen, with little to no let up. Even back in the office you would have frequent distractions from screen time, and socialisation to break up the day. Take time out from the screen when you can. Head out for a local walk, or head into your garden on your lunch and read a book. Be aware of the time you are spending in front of a screen.
Make yourself tired
We used to have so much activity heading into a office. Getting ready for work. The commute. In office socialisation. Work. The commute. And whilst it might not have felt like much before, by the evening we were mentally and physically tired from our day. All of these elements have now disappeared from our daily routine, leaving a huge gap in our activity.
It’s wise to kill that pent energy when you can. Going for a long walk after a work, a run or doing a at home workout can all help you burn energy and keep fit too. Making your body physically tired can help normalise your body clock and aid sleep.
Turn off the telly in the bedroom
TV’s really have no place in a bedroom. They can damage your ability to sleep and distract you when you should be heading to sleep. When working from home, it’s best to switch off the telly before bed. Mental stimulation like your tv and phone can be a huge problem when trying to sleep and establish your routine.
We have all undoubtedly taken advantage of working from home. Late nights, late mornings and good food can be a nice change, but not one we should be making a permanent fixture in our daily routines. It’s important to keep some normality, even when working from your spare room. Try and make a defined working space within your home too. This is really useful at mentally creating a work space and environment that you can focus within, and shut off from when the working day is done,.