Life has certainly been a little different lately for everyone with the rise of the pandemic (COVID-19). We have all had to adjust to new ways of living and working, and millions of people for the first time have needed a home office or made do with a laptop on the sofa.
Let’s focus on the positive that comes with staying and working at home; no more getting stuck in traffic on the commute to work (yay!). There are also a lot of simple things you can do while working at home to feel more productive and to boost your mood.
We asked some members of The Original Factory Shop team and here are some of their personal tried and tested tips:
1. Keep to a routine
Having a routine can be feel boring but is much needed to help get us all through the day. Without our usual routine and work schedules it’s easy to start feeling stuck in a rut and to blur the lines between work and personal time whilst at home. Try to stay consistent by following your usual work patterns. Set your alarm clock and get up at the same time every day as if you have to do that dreaded daily commute to work. Ensure to eat breakfast as usual (3 nutritious meals a day!) and don’t be tempted to stay in your pyjamas (even though it’s a bit nippy outside). Slippers are fully allowed though!!!
Log off on time when possible, when your works day stops make sure you do too so you can focus on yourself and your loved ones to ensure you keep a healthy balance between “work time” and “home time”.
2. Have a dedicated place to work
Not everyone has the luxury of a home office but try to find a quiet area of the house away from distractions. Grab your phone charger and anything else you may need throughout the day before you sit down to work. These little distractions can easily break up concentration. Don’t be afraid to ask your place of work for some “home work-station” health and safety equipment like a wrist rest, mousepad and back rest (as the saying goes, if you don’t ask you don’t get right?).
If you’re not able to get your hands on an adjustable chair or footstool try to get some extra support with cushions. Popping a cushion under your feet is a good make-shift footrest to give your legs a break.
3. Take regular breaks, stand up and get moving
Just because you’re working from home does not mean you’re on call 24/7 and at the beck and call of your colleagues. Make time for breaks and for lunch! Give yourself a break from your screen, grab a sandwich and take a few moments for yourself to de-stress, relax and press the re-set button for the rest of the day.
If your commute is now less than 30 seconds from bedroom to tiny box room you’re probably feeling a little sluggish and tired of the same four walls! Perhaps try taking a walk at lunch time to get some much needed fresh air, to clear the mind and increase your energy levels. Get moving even if it’s just up and down the stairs for a few minutes or simple stretches at home. Who knew standing up and taking a few steps would become the new short-term norm!
Try a quick home workout, to keep your body and mind feeling healthy. Why not give Joe Wicks, The Body Coach Home Workouts a go. You can do them at home and no equipment needed! Simply choose from a variety of routines on YouTube. Whether your looking for a quick 15 minutes or a 1 hour sweat surge there really is something for everyone regardless of your level of fitness and age. Also PE with Joe is great for parents looking for something active to do with the kids.
4. Add a plant or some accessories
Not only is making our work-space comfortable important but it’s equally important to surround yourself with things that make you feel relaxed, happy and in-control. Add a plant that won’t take over your desk. There is a lot of research out there that suggests nature makes us happier so have a plant in your view point. Succulents are a good choice because they require little effort and oh so on-trend at the moment.
Free up some elbow and head space by investing in a cable manager to stop multiple cables from getting tangled and making your desk look cluttered (they are relatively in-expensive). Or try a desk organiser or pen pot to keep all your pens, pencils and post it notes in one place.
5. Stay in touch
Working from home can leave you feeling isolated, especially if you’re use to meetings with multiple colleagues or a more team-based environment. Stay in touch with your colleagues, schedule in regular calls, set-up a WhatsApp group to send a funny meme or two or pick up the phone.
How about a digital coffee break? If you’re use to usually grabbing a coffee during the day with a colleague or friend, then continue to do so virtually through Microsoft Teams, Zoom, FaceTime, Whatsapp Video Call or Skype. Schedule in 5-10 mins with a friend or colleague for a non-work natter. Give it a try, what have you got to lose? Instead, you have everything to gain, including boosting your mood and wellbeing.
6. Use headphones
Over ear headphones are a good way to let everyone know you’re working, that you do not want to be disturbed at that moment in time and can be effective in helping you concentrate on important tasks whilst blocking out unwanted noise (but still allowing parents to keep an eye on the kids). Being at home is also the perfect opportunity to re-discover your music collection or a new podcast for your daily dose of escape.
Our favourite podcast include:
Crime & Thriller
Room 20 – A true crime case based in San Diego. a patient known only as Six-Six Garage lies in a vegetative state after a near-fatal car accident, with police labelling him only as an “undocumented” Mexican immigrant. Fifteen years after his initial crash, reporter Joanne Faryon dedicates herself to finding out the truth about his identity and the people he left behind. The beginning of a shocking investigation into the history of his case. Gripping!
Home Cooking - Transform your store cupboard staples into moreish dishes. If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a bag of dried chickpeas, wondering what to do with them and coming up blank, download this immediately.
My Dad Wrote a Porno - What would you do if your dad wrote a pornographic novel? This was the question Jamie Morton asked himself back in 2015. His answer: read it out loud with two friends and broadcast it for the world to hear. Each episode follows Jamie and his friends sharing a chapter of his father’s erotic novella Belinda Blinked, leading to genuine laugh-out-loud moments as they critique and analyse his handiwork.
7. Screen-sharing and structure for kids
Time management and balance whilst the kids are home too can become a tiresome juggling act. Speak to your employer about a level of flexibility with the hours you work. Don’t put pressure on yourself to create the perfect curriculum at home and be mindful of what you see other families doing – remember every family is different and so if every job and it's requirements.
If you share a screen with a child, set clear boundaries. Give them time to use the screen as and when it fits into your schedule or in and around your meetings. Use this time to do a task that doesn’t require a screen or even better use this time to take a short break and re-charge. Encourage the kids to entertain themselves whilst helping them manage their time wisely. Perhaps set-up some fun activities to keep them engaged such as painting or PE with Joe Wicks.
It’s the perfect time to start a new weekly family tradition so everyone has something to look forward to. How about introducing family movie night, baking or cooking recipes with the kids, a weekly video call with different relatives or perhaps try a spot of gardening with the kids. Pick up some plant pots and grow some indoor herbs, berries or sunflowers – make the care and maintenance of the plants their weekly responsibility.
8. Stay informed not overwhelmed
Everyone wants to stay informed but the current events on the news can be overwhelming. Especially with news alerts popping up on smart phones and social media. Information over-load I hear you say! Try allocating a set amount of time each morning or evening to read or listen to the news. Just enough time to take in the latest key information without it becoming overwhelming. Have a chat with a friend or a loved one if you start to feel overwhelmed, as the saying goes a problem shared is a problem halved. Your loved ones can provide support, comfort and perspective when you need it.
For additional information or support visit: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/7-simple-tips-to-tackle-working-from-home/