Just another blog about working from home…
30 Apr 2020
Just another blog about working from home…
If you’re anything like me, working from home used to be the odd day sitting at the kitchen table knowing that you’d be back in the office the next day. I had never considered working from home full time and I’m sure I’m not the only one who found it a hard transition! However, with a bit of effort, I can truly say that I am loving working from home and am feeling more efficient than ever. We’ve all learnt lots about it and are becoming experts on our own work from home system. There are a million and one ‘how-to’ blogs emerging... but here’s my takeaway.
Kicking the hour commute has been a delight. However I did get a bit over excited about that and was finding myself setting my alarm later and later each day, with the knock on effect of a groggy start. I thought that the extra time in bed was a wonder, but realistically I’m half-awake from 6.30am anyway and constantly hitting the snooze button isn’t good for anyone!
So I decided to see what effect getting up at 7am would have; in this time I read a little, make and drink a full cup of tea, go for a run or do a home work-out. My mood’s improved, I work more effectively and I feel better. Win win win.
Make a work space & have enforced hours
I’m very lucky; I have a home office space which allows me to ‘enter’ and ‘leave’ work every day even when I’m at home. Talking to my friends though, it seems that this is an important point whatever your set-up. Make sure that if you are working at the kitchen table or in the living room, where you work is set up in the morning and taken down in the evening. Get everything ready before you start your day, create an ‘office’ feel, and then remove this later. Even if that’s just opening and closing your laptop, make sure you put it away when you’re done and reclaim your space.
I have also always been guilty of starting early and finishing late. At home it is particularly easy to slip into these bad habits: to start when you’re up and not notice when finishing time rolls around, especially as it is now light long beyond 5pm. Despite my habits, I do think that following office hours is especially important at this time. Okay so I haven’t been 100% successful with this, but setting stricter timings for my day has really helped with switching on and off, and enabling a work life balance.
I am very lucky to work in a very friendly office, and during the work day it’s normal to spend a few minutes here and there having a chat, making a cuppa, or even doing a 5 minute stretch at 4pm.
These are what I think of as ‘reflex’ breaks – you don’t plan them, but your body and brain know that you need to push reset and you can come back to what you’re doing a couple of minutes later with fresh eyes.
At home it’s easy to not stop. Guilt creeps in when you pop to make a cup of tea, and especially if you decide to use those few minutes to do something you wouldn’t normally do at work.
But after a few weeks I’m an advocate of making yourself take breaks when these aren’t just a side effect of your workplace. Go and pop the laundry on, take a short walk around the garden, give a pet a cuddle. Stop for a few minutes; and then come back.
Meditation & Yoga
Ask any of my colleagues, I have never thought much of meditation. It never really seemed to make sense to me, but in this period of change I decided to give it a go. It feels bizarre that a few weeks ago I would have scoffed at the thought of me mediating, but with the help of an app for 10 minutes a day I am finding calm. I’m also doing 10 minute yoga mobility exercises, one before I start working and one around 4pm. It makes me feel energised and relaxed at the same time and I work far more efficiently.
My biggest lesson has been that of fluidity; it’s been really important for me to keep some sense of normality – getting up and getting properly dressed every day comes to mind! – but it has also been an important learning curve to allow myself to adapt to changing circumstances and make the most of the environment I am in. Embrace the fact that you can go for a run at 8am and still be at your desk on time and, on sunny days, enjoy stepping straight outside at 5pm with no commute.
One thing is for sure, things are going to change again. So, even if the only lesson we learn is the ability to adapt and conquer, we’ll be well set for what’s to come.
-- Written by Tabitha Tyrrell --