Make working from home, work for you!
By MAS Team | 30 March 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has forced our societies to make drastic changes in the way they operate, not least of which is how we work. Working from home used to be something many workers only did now and then, but now entire offices are trying to adapt and adjust to this new reality.
Clearly, it’s not as easy as simply moving your computer from your office to your home, and picking up where you left off. Without the routines that come with regular working, it’s easy to lose focus, and that’s before you add in the difficulty of juggling work with childcare.
So what can you do to make working from home work for you?
Whether you’re working from your spare room, your lounge, the kitchen table - set up your workspace in a way that works for you. That includes making sure you’ve got your computer screens and chairs set up in a way that isn't going to leave you with a sore back and neck.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good routine. It might sound tempting to work at random times of the day or night, but it’s unlikely to do much good for your mental health and wellbeing. It’s important to maintain as much of a separation as you can between your working life and your personal life. Everyone needs to find a method that works for them but, in general, it’s a good idea to try to maintain a separation between your work time and your personal time.
It’s hard to power through work when you’re being interrupted by children, grocery deliveries, and the general distractions of home life. So it’s important to accept that your productivity is not going to be the same as it might be if you were in the office, with relative peace and quiet to get on with things.
It’s also a good idea to let your colleagues and clients know in advance that you might not be as flexible to take meetings and respond to emails immediately as you would normally be. There’s a good chance they’re facing the same juggling act as well.
Few people can deal with being cooped up in their home for too long without getting a touch of cabin fever, so make sure you’re getting some fresh air and exercise every day. And be careful not to overdo the coffee and tea. Sometimes the routine of making a good brew offers a much-needed break from the daily grind, but too much caffeine is not helpful for your stress levels.
As well as getting regular exercise, it’s also important to maintain connections with your colleagues and any family who may not be in shutdown with you. Physical isolation and social distancing doesn’t need to mean social isolation. Emails and texts are one way of maintaining these connections but you should also try to chat daily with someone face-to-face, whether that be via a video-conferencing tool or down at the park while keeping a suitable distance from each other.
Ultimately, there’s no single, correct way to work from home. Everyone has different home environments, different types of work to do, different responsibilities to manage, and different resources to draw on. But thinking about how you will manage these five areas, in particular, will give you a great start in finding a system that works for you.
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