22 Jan 2021
As all of us are aware by now, vast swathes of the country are now working from home. Though homeworking has become more commonplace, a lot of homes still won’t be set up for it, and not everyone has a home office. There are some practical things you could do, like moving furniture around to make life a bit easier. But more important than these is the organisation of your working from home time, rather than the space you dedicate to it. Here are a few working from home top tips that will hopefully make your lives a bit easier.
Light up your world
Natural light is really important for our mood, not to mention the practicalities of squinting to try and read a document in a poorly lit corner. This is where moving furniture around comes into play. If you can, try to locate your workspace next to a window to give your eyes a rest. They'll thank you, especially in the dark wintery days. If this isn't practical for you, make sure you’ve got sufficient artificial light to see properly and double check all the glare settings on your laptop or computer. And it's still important for our moods to soak up some natural light, even on those overcast days, so make a habit of opening your curtains every morning before you start homeworking.
Don't work in bed
A lot of us find it hard to switch off at the best of times. This is even more difficult if your place of calm – your bed – has become your office. It then becomes tempting to just finish that last thing, which has a knock-on effect on your sleep quality. And, as we all know, good sleep is vital for our mood and health, which right now are more important than ever. So as hard as it may be, get out of your bed and, preferably, move to another room to work. The good news is that while working in your bed might not be such a good idea, working in your pyjamas definitely is!
Get out (in the politest possible way)
Getting out of the house – in a safe way – is still important at the moment, even if this just involves going out to the garden to get some fresh air. However, for people working from home who might not have gardens, or be self-isolating, or not able, or just for those days when it’s too cold or bucketing down, this isn’t always possible. An indoor plant is a good way to introduce nature to your workspace, and should be a mood-booster too. Some varieties can even purify the air.
Most of us are used to being outside every day, even if it’s just for the short walk from the car to the office. If you can, pencil in a short walk at some point in the day – owning a dog is a great excuse to do this. It doesn’t have to be far, but it will definitely improve your mood and get you out of the work head-space for a bit.
Ideally we’d all have a separate space used only for homeworking, which we can close the door on once we’re finished for the day. In reality, not many of us have that luxury. Still, there are a few things we can do to keep the home/work spheres separate. If you work at your kitchen table, shut your laptop when you’re having meals. At the weekends, or on any days off you have, make sure you’ve cleared away all your work stuff so that you’re not tempted. Be strict about this and your mind will thank you.
And, if you are lucky enough to have a separate room for your office (or even if the dining room has turned into one), make sure you close the door at the end of the working day and keep it closed.
Organisation is key!
A work schedule is important, especially because when working from home it’s so tempting to stay on your laptop or computer all day, just because it’s there. Try not to do this. Leave your work where it is when you make a tea or coffee, and take your lunch break in front of a good book or TV programme to take your mind off things.
If you're finding it hard to adjust to the new homeworking routine, write a list of the things you need to get done each day, which should help you stay on track. Just make sure not to overload yourself, and pencil in time for non-work things, like getting out for a walk or phoning a friend for a catch up.
Maintaining a balance is essential for your well-being. Work isn’t everything; it’s more important to check in with loved ones, get outside if you can, and stay healthy.
If you've found working from home a struggle, especially if other members of your household are also doing it, then you might want to consider a garden office.