For many of us the idea of working from home can seem like a dream – no rush hour commute to the office, stay in your PJs all day and nobody is watching when you take a sneaky snooze on the sofa during your lunch break. But that’s not always the reality.
The world as we know it is rapidly changing with countries forcing their populations into lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of Coronavirus. More Australians than ever right now are setting up offices in their home – maybe your new noisy co-workers are actually your children who are also stuck at home.
We don’t know how long this crisis will last and how long we’ll be calling our houses both home and office. However, those experienced in work from home life will tell you that there are a number of key practices when it comes to the routine of working from home that you need to set in place to protect both your work productivity and your own personal mental health.
1. Set a Routine
When you go to the office each day, you have set hours. You arrive at the office and start work for the day, and then at the end of the day you close down your computer, forget the worries of work for the day and go home to your family.
This actually becomes more critical at home when the boundaries between home and work life become blurred. Have a set start time when you go to your home office space to start work for the day. And have a set time when you close down your laptop and become personal you again. Let your work team know what hours you’ll be contactable during the day and your home team know what hours you need some peace to get work done.
Also make sure to take regular breaks during the day. Get up from your desk and stretch. Sit outside on your patio with a coffee during your break. Go for a 10 minute walk around your street.
It’ll take a few days to get into the swing of the routine, but keep at it and you’ll get there.
2. Set a Dedicated Place to Work in Your Home
While sitting on the sofa with your laptop may sound like a fun way to spend the work day, you’ll soon find it’s not the most productive way to work, and not great for your posture either.
Set up a place in your home, away from the noise of your new mini co-workers, where you can set up a desk, chair, laptop and everything else you need to get your work done. If working from home is just a temporary thing, you can even ask your workplace if you can borrow your office chair or other items to help you work.
When you sit down at your home office desk for the day, it’ll send a signal to your brain that the work day is ready to begin. It will also help you separate work time from play time at home.
3. Have a Shower and Get Dressed
Get showered and dressed for the day. It’s a big temptation to stay in your PJs all day, but those who have gone before you will tell you it’s a trap.
Even if you aren’t seeing anyone in person or via video conference for the day, it will make a world of difference to how you feel during the day if you’re properly dressed. You don’t need to go to the full business suit – although sometimes it is fun to play dress-ups – but wear smart casual.
Staying in your pyjamas is fun the first day, but you’ll soon start feeling sluggish and the line between home life and work life will start to get blurry.
And you get a surprise video chat request from your boss, you won’t be caught off guard.
4. Get Out For Walks and Fresh Air
Even during full Coronavirus lockdowns, except in the most dire of circumstances, most countries are still allowing people to get outside for physical exercise – as long as you practice safe social distancing.
Working from home may save you hours in a day commuting to and from the office. So, why not use that time to go for a walk?
Start your day with a walk around your suburb and call it the commute from your home to your home office.
Not only will getting out of the house for a walk be good for your overall physical health, but it’ll also have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing.
Leave your phone at home when you go for your morning and/or afternoon walk. Use this as a time to disconnect from the myriad of information that is being overloaded on us about Covid-19, and it’s also a great time to spend quiet time with God in the beauty of His creation.
5. Stay Connected to Your Colleagues
During this time of social distancing, it will become very easy for many to become isolated. With isolation also comes feelings of loneliness, despair and creates too much quiet time for those negative thoughts to start creeping into our heads.
One of the blessings of this Coronavirus pandemic happening in 2020, and not 1985 or even 2005, is our access to real time video chat with those we work with.
Schedule a daily video chat with your team and don’t make it all business talk. Spend some time making casual conversation with your co-workers. Even if you’re not feeling lonely yet, we can guarantee that someone in your team will be and you reaching out to check in might just be the hope that they need to get through this time of anxiety.
While these five tips will help you to become super productive during your time working from home, don’t forget that while we are being infiltrated with a constant stream of Coronavirus information, none of this is a surprise to God.
Make sure you spend time each day in prayer and in God’s Word. The more of your worries, fears and anxieties that you place in His hands the more that mountain will turn back into a molehill.
With that we’ll leave you with these final words from Pastor Greg Laurie…
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