Over the last 3 months +, many of us have been working from home. For some of us this will already be the “norm”, for others this will have been a totally new experience that we haven’t had before. Whichever category you fall under, anyone who is working remotely has to figure out how to create boundaries between work and personal life. Here are my favourite tips for working remotely to get that balance right.
Create a morning routine
When lockdown first began, I think we can all relate to getting every last minute of sleep in and then rocking up to our laptops/PC’s in our pyjamas, still bleary eyed, jumping straight into our work. For me, this lasted for about a week before I began to feel sluggish and I needed to get some sort of routine back. Before the days of working from home, maybe you would have got up, had a shower, got dressed, grabbed a coffee and then began your commute – maybe you read a book on the train. This means you would have been awake and grabbing some Vitamin D at least an hour before even arriving at work, which you may now be missing out on.
Create a new morning routine which ends with you “arriving” at work. This could be getting dressed and having breakfast and a cup of tea, reading a few pages of a book, doing a workout or going for a walk. Who am I to judge.. maybe you just enjoy spending your day in your pyjamas – but I promise you will feel more successful at the end of your day if you don’t!
Maintain your regular work hours
When working in an office, you typically work to your set hours, e.g. 9am – 5pm. Whilst working from home, you may have found that those lines become blurred, perhaps starting earlier or finishing later, or maybe even both. This lack of schedule can make it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Incorporate your morning routine with your start time and ensure you finish work when you normally would have. If you’d normally finish work at 5, finish work at 5. Shut the laptop down, step away from the laptop! If you find it difficult sticking to these hours with willpower alone, there are apps and desktop sites that can help you set and stick to your schedule – Toggl: Time Tracker & Work Log or Todoist.
Designate a Work Space
Whilst it may be tempting to sit in bed on your laptop for the day, this won’t do anything for your well-being, posture or productivity levels. Having a designated working space will also help to maintain that boundary between work and home life. Your working space should be clutter and distraction free, if possible.
Take a Lunch Break
It can become easy to work through lunch or eat your lunch at your desk at home, but use this time to make and enjoy a nutritious lunch away from your working space, that will keep you satiated for the rest of the day – this limits the urge to snack throughout the day (darn those pesky lockdown pounds we’ve all gained!). Lunch breaks are also a good opportunity to leave the house – go for a walk, pop to the supermarket or simply sit back and enjoy some sunshine. You deserve it!
Set some house rules
If you share your home with friends, spouse and or children, it is beneficial for everyone to come to an agreement on some rules for working hours. Try to encourage them to leave you alone whilst you are working so you are free from distractions. You also don’t want to be in the middle of a call and your roommate starts playing loud music.
Stay in touch
At Entegraty we’ve ensured to keep in touch with our colleagues on a daily basis. We use Microsoft Teams to communicate with each other in group or direct chats. Don’t make these conversations solely about work – check in on them as humans and their well-being. Kick off the day with a ‘Good morning’ and a ‘See you later’ when you’re logging off.
Set a sleep schedule
Aim to get around eight hours sleep a night – this will help keep you mentally focused and energised the following day. Avoid fuelling up on caffeine in the afternoon when you hit the post lunch dip. Although there are significant individual differences in how caffeine affects each of us, give yourself enough time between your last caffeine intake and your sleep time to make sure that it does not interfere with your ability to get off to sleep. If you’re feeling lethargic in the afternoon, spend 10 minutes outside getting some fresh air.
Be kind to yourself – most importantly!
Remember, this is an unusual situation and things still won’t feel normal. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you might not be as productive as you would normally be. Be realistic about what you want to achieve given the circumstances, and relax when your work is done.