Coronavirus – How to work well from home during these uncertain times

Mar 28, 2020 2:20 AM ET

WHETHER it’s part of your regular working week or you are a doing it for the first time – these unprecedented times are now seeing thousands of people working from home.

For some it may be a slightly different version of the remote working they may be used to, for others it is a step into the unknown; and can trigger feelings of being disconnected, isolated and anxious at having to adapt to a new routine.

Anne Corder of Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment has some practical advice to help maintain physical and psychological wellbeing during this time and bring some newfound order to your working day.

Anne said: “We find ourselves in unprecedented times right now, where we have all been thrown very much into the unknown. It’s not just coronavirus sending us to work from home though, we are in an age where so many of us are able to work remotely and companies are encouraging it more and more, although the current situation for many can feel far from normal at the moment.

“Getting through the working day when you feel isolated, missing the camaraderie of the office, having children at home to look after or are anxious about your personal daily productivity can be difficult.

“About 1.5 million people work from home, but if you are new to working remotely, here are some tips to keep as productive and as mentally healthy as possible.”

Six super tips to effective and happy working from home:

1. Get dressed

As tempting as it may be, staying in your PJs all day isn’t going to psychologically prepare you for the starting of your working day. Whether you need to change into business attire depends on the type of person you are and the nature of the job you have. Some people find that dressing formally is helpful, and also useful if they need to dial into a video call. Otherwise, make sure you are dressed comfortably.

2. Have a routine

Routine offers a comfort and can also help reduce stress. If family circumstances allow, try and stick as close to your working routine as possible – and without the school run or early morning gym session, you may even have more time on your hands! If you have been used to going to the gym before work, try one of the many online workouts to start your day – either alone or encourage younger members of the family to join in before setting them their own tasks for the day.

Try and keep to normal working hours, starting and finishing at the same time and taking your regular lunch break. The more you stick to this the more of a habit you’ll be in, and it’ll become easier each day.

3. Have a comfortable place to work

When deciding where you are going to be working in your home, the best thing to do is to find somewhere that is separate from where you relax. Try and make yourself your own designated working area, even if you don’t have the luxury of a separate room, create yourself a little table and chair area – optimise your environment and keep your desk space and area as tidy as possible.

4. Organise your day

Working from home can sometimes feel monotonous. If your office day is usually broken up with meetings, chats at the water cooler, walks during lunch breaks or even the odd trip to the loo, working in isolation can seem like a long day. So, work in short bursts – ensure that you take regular breaks, plan what you are having for lunch the day before, stretch your legs and try not to get distracted too much by that list of household chores! Don’t stay glued to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office.

5. Communicate

We may not be able to have those morning catch ups over coffee at our desks or attend work related meetings with colleagues around the board room table, but we CAN still communicate in plenty of ways; email, Skype, FaceTime calls, video conferencing or a good old fashioned phone call. Staying in touch is particularly important if you are living on your own as well, because without communication we can quickly become very isolated and lonely. And if you do happen to know someone who is living alone and working alone give them a call even just to check in and see how they’re doing. A little hello from someone can go a long way in this digital world.

6. Get outdoors

If you’re able to get outside on your lunch break and take a little walk, whether that is round the garden or around the block in line with Government advice, this is a great idea. In a normal day in the office you move more than you do at home, so a little wander outside will get the blood flowing, and it’s often good to just get away from the screen for a bit. On top of this fresh air is so good for us, mentally. Studies show that being outside can do wonders for relieving stress, anxiety and depression.

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