How to make working from home work for you
More and more people across the globe work from home than ever before. Although it has its perks, working from home can also lead to people feeling isolated, anxious and even bored. It is important to be able to manage your time efficiently, in order to maximise productivity whilst ensuring you are still looking after your mental and physical health. Here are some simple strategies to make working from home more effective:
It is important to stick to a routine in order to stop the lines between work and personal life becoming blurred. Try to wake up at the same time each day and get dressed, eat breakfast and do any other activities you would normally do before going out to work. Take a lunch break and at the end of your working day, stop working. You may need to turn off your cell phone notifications and stop checking emails. Therefore, make sure colleagues are aware of your “office hours” and stick to these hours as strictly as possible. If at all possible, close the door to your home office so as not to be tempted to work after hours. Also, stick to a regular evening routine and bedtime every day as this will help you feel in control and as though you are managing your work-life balance more effectively.
Find a dedicated workspace – this will depend on your living arrangements, but avoid working in areas where there are too many distractions. Make sure you are as comfortable as possible, with your desk, chair and equipment set up in a way that does not negatively impact your posture. It may be tempting to sit in bed or on the sofa, but setting up a more formal space with everything you need nearby, will be more conducive to a productive work day.
3. Take a break
This is essential to help you stay focussed – take regular screen breaks and try to set aside a lunch break. A lot of research has been done into how often we should take breaks and for how long. Some people like to take a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break for 15 minutes along with a longer lunch break in the middle of the day. The Pomodoro method suggests working for 25 minutes and taking a 5-minute break, followed by a longer 30-minute break after four of these cycles. Another popular method is taking a break after 90 minutes of working – to coincide with our natural ultradian rhythm. Perhaps the most effective is the 52-17 method which combines these two – working for 52 minutes followed by a 17-minute break. Whichever option is best for you, ensuring you get up at least every 30 minutes for 1-2 minutes is helpful to recharge.
Try to remove yourself from your workspace during your breaks so you are not tempted to work. Doing some form of physical activity during a break is a great way to “switch off” while also improving blood circulation and energy levels. Exercise also has the added benefit of helping you to be able to refocus when you return to your screen/desk, making you more productive.
4. Stay connected
Avoid feeling isolated by ensuring you schedule some virtual social interactions into your calendar and where possible if regulations allow, some face to face interactions too. Chat to your colleagues and check in on each other – this type of support is crucial to make up for the lack of human interaction, particularly in situations where employees are used to working together in an office environment.
Disclaimer: The content of this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.