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Posted on: October 26th 2020   •    Posted in: General News

Working from home: How to keep the pace and find the balance

Many people around the UK have been working from home for 8 months now. We are sure if someone had told you this back in January that you wouldn’t have believed them.

Businesses have had to quickly adapt to having a new agile workforce. Things that were once thought impossible are now possible and are part of our day to day working lives.

That doesn’t mean working from home has been easy. Coronavirus has changed everything for everyone and we have all had to adjust to a new way of living and working. The tricky part is finding the balance between the two.

There are definite perks of working from home;

  • No commute
  • Better work/life balance
  • Being able to eat/drink the contents of your fridge and cupboards

Yet, there is a lot of stress, boredom, anxiety and uncertainty. With many people worried about future job prospects and looking after dependents.

We have put together some simple tips to help you when working from home. These tips should help you feel more productive and take care of your mental well-being during these difficult times.


1) Set and stick to a routine

You may find that without a set schedule that you can often blur the lines between work and personal time. This can lead to stress levels increasing. The NHS suggests following your normal sleep and work patterns and keep these consistent. Get up at the same time, eat breakfast, and get out of your pyjamas! Most importantly, when your workday stops, stop working. Shut down, stop checking emails and focus on your home life. And at the end of the day, try to get to bed at your usual time.


2) Make a dedicated workspace

The biggest tip is to find a workspace dedicated to just that, working! Get everything you need in one place before you start work – chargers, pens, paper and anything else – and shut the door if you can. Lastly, get comfortable. While it might be tempting to sit on the sofa, it’s much better to sit at a desk or table. Use the NHS guidelines to set up your workspace correctly, as much as you possibly can.

If you do not have office furniture like an adjustable chair, try using things like cushions to support you in your chair, or a box as a footrest.


3) Give yourself a break

Many of us are guilty of feeling like we have to be available all the time when working from home. But just being “present” is no use to anyone if your mental health is suffering. Making time for regular breaks will help with stress levels, concentrations and productivity. If you can, set a time to go for a walk, run or bike ride for some fresh air, or a coffee. Make sure you follow social distancing guidance when outside your home.

Working from home means you might be spending a lot more time without moving your body. Try and do some light exercise throughout the day to power the brain and the body!


4) Stay Connected

While working from home has its benefits, you may also feel more isolated. But there are lots of ways to stay in touch with those who matter – boosting their mental wellbeing as well as our own. In and out of work, human interaction matters so schedule video calls and pick up the phone instead of emailing. If you’re struggling with working at home, speak to your colleagues or manager about your concerns. And remember, your colleagues probably feel the same as you! Ask how they’re doing and whether there are ways you can support each other. Make time to socialise virtually – schedule in a digital coffee break or Friday online get-together. Or meet in person for a coffee or lunch if you can do so, following the latest social distancing guidelines.


5) Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries with other members of your household is key to mental wellbeing while working at home.

You can be more flexible when working from home, so enjoy it. But it can also be difficult if there are other distractions to deal with, like children at home. Discuss your needs, especially with family. Remind them that you still have work to do and need quiet time to do it, and share your schedule. Similarly, set boundaries with work. It’s easier to stay logged on when your home is your office, but try to switch off when the workday is over, and enjoy time with family at home.


6) Think long term

You may be continuing to work from home for a while, so think about ways you could improve how you work while at home. Try to explore how you work with others. Are there different ways to talk online or new software you could use?


7) Be kind to yourself

Remember, this is an unusual situation and things will not feel normal!

Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you might not be as productive as you usually would be. Be realistic about what you can achieve given the circumstances, and relax when your work is done.

If you need any more help and guidance on working from home you can visit the NHS website. Or if you are currently not working, on furlough or the job support scheme and you are looking for some advice please contact our welfare and benefits team.

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