It’s hard to believe we’re nearly one full calendar year on from when huge numbers of us were encouraged to ‘work from home where you possibly can’.
So how are you doing?
Have you learned to love it?
Do you unashamedly embrace the idea that you can now wander from your bedroom to your work desk, still wearing your pyjama pants and slippers?
Or, is it ‘hell at home’ and does it feel more like you’ve turned the sanctuary of your family environment into a permanent workplace, where there’s little escape?
Here’s our top tips for nailing WFH while maintaining your health, humour and happiness.
INSIST ON SEPARATION
First thing’s first. You’re going to need to set clear boundaries between what is ‘work life’ and what is ‘home life’.
If you’re still drifting around the house in your pyjamas in the middle of the day, while half loading the washing machine, and half managing a client call, you’re never going to feel particularly focused and effective.
Better to have those boundaries between what constitutes your work day world, and what represents you being back in the guise of parent / partner / sociable housemate.
Of course that’s tricky if you’re also homeschooling, but make it a goal as best you can.
Set yourself specific working hours, even if they are tweaked on certain days when you need to swap parenting duties with your spouse, or if the timezone of your client calls for it.
Keep with the pattern of breakfast, lunch and your ‘end of work regime’ so that you close off your day and return to your ‘at home’ identity.
Don’t take work devices into sociable family spaces with you when your work is done, and perhaps even think about a pre-work ‘walk around the block’ to act as your commute.
Don’t underestimate how important it is for your health and sanity to have good space in which to work, complete with the right tech and seating.
Sitting up in bed, or trying to perch at the end of your dining table with your laptop may not be the best for your professional image, and it’s unlikely to help your posture.
Consider changing seating and getting additional screens or laptop stands if it will help you conduct your workday better.
TAKE A BREAK
Just as you might take a lunchtime walk away from the office in your ‘previous life’, it’s really helpful to build in that opportunity to have some fresh air, or have a conversation unrelated to work.
Consider it as an alternative to the ‘water cooler moment’ and it might well add to your creativity when you return to your desk.
This is particularly important if you’re working from home on your own. Make sure you’re having the occasional chat with a friend, relative or colleague over whatever medium you find works for you best.
Share a joke, air worries, and ALWAYS reach out to a professional service or specialist if you feel your mental health is beginning to suffer.