As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread, the UK government advises all those that can work from home to do so. While those that can are undoubtedly feeling fortunate that they can continue to earn remotely, there’s still an understandable sense of trepidation over a long-term stint working at home. This is due to the unknown expanse of time that lies before us. How long will we need to be working remotely? And of course, we aren’t all set up to work efficiently at home, lacking second screens or suitable chairs with back support. With recommendations to carry out social distancing and avoid public places such as pubs, there are also concerns over the blurring of lines between personal time and our working hours. While a commute-free day is a joy at first, there’s no clear separation that work has ended and our evenings are beginning.
Below we share tips to help you thrive while working remotely at a time when achieving a successful work:life integration is more crucial than ever.
How to Thrive while Working at Home
1. Keep consistent wake up times
Sleep scientist Dr. Jason C. Ong explains, “if you want to sleep well on a regular basis, the single most important thing you can do is to have a consistent wake-up time.” Keeping a consistent rhythm to your mornings is important for your sleep quality and therefore how well you’re likely to be able to concentrate during the day – that’s when also faced with more distractions at home.
2. Create a routine
Even if you decide you don’t need to wake up quite as early as you did when commuting to your place of work, it’s still a good idea to get into the work mindset before opening your laptop. Rather than rolling out of bed, try to do what you would normally do before leaving for work. Have a shower, get dressed and feel ready to start the day.
You could also replace your commute time with a self-care or wellness activity that you want to become part of your routine. Many successful entrepreneurs swear by their morning routines, whether they do yoga or practise gratitude. Start building these habits now and you have a good chance of keeping them as part of your routine when you’re no longer working at home.
3. Stick to your hours
It can be easy to lose track of time when you’re working remotely. With limited options for leisure activities outside of our homes, it could be tempting to let work consume everything we do. When you sign off at the end of the day, try to leave work behind and refrain from messaging colleagues about something you’ve remembered or actions for the next day – this is as much for you as for them. Switching off notifications after a certain time will probably reduce this temptation.
4. Stay in contact with colleagues
It can feel isolating to work remotely and it is no doubt a challenge to recreate the same camaraderie that’s found in the office. After all, our colleagues are who we spend the majority of our time with. Why not take inspiration from the Swedish and fika? Inherently Swedish, fika is ritual where colleagues step away from work, enjoy coffee and something sweet and chat about everyday topics. The effects are said to be better relationships and a more productive mindset. Perhaps it’s time to begin the virtual fika break?
5. Keep moving
Without a commute, it’s even easier to fall into a sedentary lifestyle, not to mention the government’s advice on avoiding populated places, which includes gyms and sports clubs. Taking a walk and getting some fresh air (at a safe distance from others) and home workouts are things not to miss. There are many apps and online videos that offer workouts and yoga sessions with limited to no equipment. With benefits for happiness and mental health, exercise is also key to stay positive during these unexpected and turbulent times.