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March 19, 2020
In light of the recent COVID-19 virus and the self quarantine and work from home status many of us find ourselves in, here is a little guide that might help anyone who is trying to work from home in these uncertain times. These tips come from a team that work from home on a regular basis and have built a healthy and happy lifestyle around these pointers, so don’t worry you can do it too.
If the recent outbreak has come as a bit of a shock to the system, you’re not alone. We are all in the same boat of uneasiness, and are being told to take a laptop home and work as normal. However with certain systems unreachable, meeting postponed or cancelled and a few team members short, it’s not as easy as it sounds. To stay positive and in control, take things one day at a time and try your best to work as usual. If some tasks you are unable to do from home, think of ways to work around this, can you split the job down into smaller parts for everyone on the team to help out with. That meeting that was cancelled, have you ever tried zoom? The closer the earth comes to a standstill the harder it is to get all the cogs working again, so let’s keep moving.
Working from home doesn’t have to mean tapping away on your laptop in silence for 8 hours straight. A distraction can be good for your brain to re-engage parts that aren’t being used while you work. For some having the tv on in the background or some music can mimic an office environment of voices and having the radio on at work. However don’t let this take your attention away from your work for too long, it’s all about self control and finding the right balance for your working day to be productive but not dull and regimented.
Another way to keep things as normal as possible without actually coming into contact with anyone in the midst of the Coronavirus is to pick up the phone. Talk to your friends on your lunch break, FaceTime and have a chat with your colleagues. Keeping up to date on social media makes us feel connected, but make sure it doesn’t turn into an obsession or you may need a digital detox - you can read more about that here.
If you are working from home with your partner also having to do the same it’s important to respect each other’s space. Your job roles may be completely different and require different amounts of attention and some roles may need total silence to work effectively. It’s a good idea to work in different rooms and not interact as though it’s your day off, treat it like a normal working day and you will find it’s much easier to maintain a good working environment for you both. Although don’t turn down the offer of a cup of tea if it comes your way!
Because of the stressful nature of the outbreak it can be hard on us mentally to hold worry and fear in our hearts, for ourselves and our loved ones. So go easy on yourself, if you’re struggling to cope take time out of your day to reassess and recuperate. Make your favourite foods, watch a film or try an adult colouring book to take your mind off things for a while and break up your day, you can come back to finish off your work later. It’s important to understand our health comes first and self care isn't selfish. It’s necessary in times of needs. Perhaps you want to get your workload out of the way first and then take the evening to practise a skincare routine or take a warm soak in the bath with a good book. It’s totally up to you on what makes you happy.
Even though we are self-quarantined and working from home during this time, it doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed fresh air. If you don’t feel safe going outside because you live in a heavily populated area or big city with lots of people, even just opening a window and feeling a cold breeze can awaken your mind. However if you do want to venture outside make sure you follow government health guidelines and wash your hands before and after. The most suitable outing would be a walk among nature where you won’t come across any other people, a lunchtime stroll could be all you need to recharge your brain after working from home.
At the end of your working day, it’s important to switch off your laptop or computer, turn off your work phone and make time for yourself. Setting boundaries is easier at work because you are physically removing yourself from the situation, but when working from home, your work is always there. Don’t get into the habit of working odd hours or extra in the evenings or weekends. This will eat into your personal life and could become unhealthy causing a mental block or overload.
We hope these tips help you navigate your way through this topsy turvy World right now, and that you all stay well and keep safe during these uncertain times.
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