We’re approaching the endemic phase of this pandemic. However, we’re still very much in the thick of things, and many employers are embracing a work-from-home policy for the foreseeable future.
For those working from home, every single day, how do we prevent it from becoming stale? By now we are all well in the groove with our work from home routine, but some fine-tuning or perhaps a complete overhaul could improve your workspace, boost productivity and provide the metal floss you need.
1. Have a consistent pre-work routine
You don’t exercise without stretching your muscles first, your brain and work are the same! The theory of sitting down at your computer and immediately plugging away at work is easy, but not in practice for everyone. Like any habit, the key is to have something that primes you for your next set of actions. Whether that’s starting your day with a walk, listening to a new podcast, or trying a new breakfast to get your day started. It doesn’t necessarily matter, as long as there’s a consistent primer to get you going.
2. Have a dedicated workspace
It can’t be overstated enough how important this is. It doesn’t matter what your workspace looks like, provided you have a dedicated space that ideally doesn’t overlap with how you spend your downtime.
Next, try freshening up your space! A new coat of paint, new pictures on the wall, add some new plants or try sitting in a new direction. Novelty can often spark a new found sense of clarity and focus. Control your experience as much as possible, too. Find a music playlist or genre that resonates best with your ability to focus; our suggestion is something without lyrics, such as classical or instrumentals. Music with lyrics has a well-attuned (no pun intended) ability to take us off focus from what’s in front of us.
3. Be disciplined with your time
One of the most insidious downsides of a work from home routine is how easily time can get away from you, and you end up working / procrastinating for longer than you planned. If you’re able, resist the urge to look at work emails or chats after you log off. When your workday is complete, creating a boundary is a direct pathway to better mental health and well-being.
Speaking of mental health and well-being, taking the time to check in with a friend can be beneficial for everyone involved. One of the easiest ways to promote positive mental health for yourself is by conversing with others. A simple 10 minute phone conversation may do it. Explore practices like yoga, meditation, or a creative outlet; art, music, cooking, dancing etc.
4. Build consistent breaks into your schedule
Make sure you take full advantage of the time you’re allotted for breaks. Consider experimenting what you do during the time off. Pushing through your breaks in the hope of getting more done often reduces productivity and is a recipe for burnout. The key is longevity, it’s a marathon not a sprint, pace yourself and finish strong. Try new ways to stay hydrated; herbal teas and flavoured water, and take care of your physical health and look into alternative fitness activities: Micro-workouts!
5. Schedule physical activity
At a minimum, keep your blood flowing by standing and walking at least once every hour of sitting. Keeping a physical exercise routine is directly related to increased energy throughout the day, and promotes a vast array of mental health benefits too. A great way to kickstart your routine is to set a challenge or goals for yourself, such as signing up for a half-marathon a few months in the future; consider inviting your co-workers for camaraderie.
6. Connect with your colleagues
A recent study showed that about 65% of participants reported increased feelings of loneliness since the pandemic began. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a lonely person, scheduled interactions with your colleagues is a great way to improve your mental health. Here’s how you get started:
Knowing Me Knowing You – One of our newest virtual games that can be played in as little as 30 minutes. It’s a fantastic way to find common interests between your colleagues. It’s a simple, and effective way to cultivate friendships within organizations regardless of the staff composition. You never know who might have a similar personality or share an interest in one of your hobbies.
Clinical Psychologist and Lecturer at Harvard Medical School, Christopher Germer, is a significant proponent of self-care, stating “Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” For those with a work from home routine, self-care and self-compassion are the keys to moving through this pandemic experience as gracefully and intentionally as possible. For when you’re ready to get back into in-person team bonding and building events, here’s a guide to get you started, and here’s how you can do it safely.
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