By Helene Ravlich
If you’re one of the millions currently in lockdown or social distancing like us, you’re probably working from home right now. Mandatory WFH has set us a whole new challenge when it comes to coping with very swift changes to our daily routine, and for many of us, it’s been a tough time. It’s true that plenty of people fantasise about working from the comfort of their own home, foregoing their daily commute in favour of more sleep and family time, but when it happens out of the blue? It can be incredibly tough to deal with.
Working remotely can also be a double-edged sword — sure, you get to stay in your pjs, but it can be harder to focus on actual work. And if you’re forced to like we are right now, it can be easy to lose focus and well, not actually get sh*t done. Whether it’s a pile of washing that suddenly looks more appealing than your deadline, or a binge of that one Netflix show you’ve been dying to watch, staying productive at home can take a little extra effort.
Alternatively, if you’re like me and being “at work” brings a sense of normalcy to your day, you will find yourself clocking on early and off far too late, and feeling pretty depleted as a result. So what can we do?
Dedicate an “office” area in your home
You may be sharing an apartment or bunking back in mum and dad’s spare room, but successful working from home starts with a work space all your own. Even if you don’t have a lot of room to play with, establishing a no-nonsense work area will help create personal and professional boundaries and keep you on track. And since you’re at home, add a vase of found flowers, pictures of your pets – whatever helps you feel some sense of normality and keeps a smile on your face.
Come into the light
If you’re anything like me, you’re really starting to feel the pressure from so much enforced time indoors, and could really do with a long beach walk or hike round about now! Unfortunately both are off the cards at the moment, but you can still feel the sun on your face by opting for a work space that offers a little natural light—and fresh air, if the weather allows. You’ll reap all the benefits of natural light—upping your Vitamin D intake, warding off seasonal depression, making you happier, and your space, brighter. As the days warm up throw open a window or two, I swear it makes a difference!
Take time to step back and reset
This one was tailor made for types like me! When you’re WFH, it’s easy to get sucked into sitting all day— either replying to email or instant message responses, or just scrolling mindlessly through your feed. Some experts advise that when working at home, it helps to keep a more structured daily schedule than usual. Usually our time and the structure of our day are influenced by others, and some might have a hard time dealing with a complete lack of it. Your new ‘normal’ may include multiple breaks throughout the day, either to play with a pet, meditate or take a walk around your neighbourhood. Or simply to snack – I’m not judging.
If you have some indoor plants on hand, bring your succulents, aloe and other indoor babies near and curate your very own little urban jungle. Plants will freshen your air and give you a little extra company as you work, and prove a great point of focus when you’re indulging in a little zen time and aren’t quite ready to pound the pavements.
Header Image retrieved from Unsplash @jimmydean