Since it has been announced that those who can must now work from home, it seems like every company, product, individual, celebrity and their neighbour have top tips for surviving - what for many - has been a drastic change of routine and scenery. We don’t really want to add to the noise here, and so rather have pulled out the presiding bits of advice that we have discovered while trawling the good old ‘net.
The advice varies from changing from your pyjamas to getting fully ready - makeup, doing your hair included- as if you were headed to the office. Regardless of where you stand on this spectrum, it is generally agreed that you should at least be in something you didn’t sleep in, and brush your teeth/wash your face. It will help you feel fresh and more awake to tackle whatever tasks are about to be thrown your way.
Define Your Workspace
The initial excitement of getting to work from your bed or couch very quickly wears off when your back/neck reminds you that you were never designed to work in the shape of an umbrella handle. As soon as you can, designate yourself a workspace at home. If you can work in an alternative room to your bedroom, that’s great, and get yourself set up on a table and chair if possible (to resemble as close to a work desk). For those who don’t have space or luxury, get creative. A coffee table and the couch as back support can work well if you’re happy to sit on the floor, or go for a standing desk on a kitchen/bedroom counter. If you have to be bed/couch-based, make sure to have something supporting your back and under your laptop to keep it level with your wrists and to keep from straining your neck.
Set Yourself Some Boundaries
Again, that joy of being at home quickly wears off if your home is also doubling up as a nursery/co-working space/school, and it’s important that you manage to be present both in work during work hours and at home once you clock off. For some, this involves writing out a schedule (as detailed as by half hours, or as broad as weekly) and for others it may be easier to set daily goals and work around whoever else is at home. The important thing is to feel like you have managed to tick a couple of things off your to do list at the end of the day, and then switch off to spend time with those with you at home or catching up with loved ones over the phone, and eating a proper meal, before winding down and getting a good night's rest.
Get Outside (If you are not self-isolating or shielding)
It may seem obvious for some, and ridiculous to others, but the advice we have is that if we are healthy, we may go out for an hour’s exercise, and that isn’t to be undermined. Fresh air is good for both the mind and spirit, and it’s important to change environment. Whether it’s for a short run or a long walk around your neighbourhood, maintain social distancing, breathe deep and let your mind wander while stretching your legs and giving your eyes a break from screens.
Allocate Time to Voice to Voice/Face to Face Communication
As mentioned when setting boundaries, it’s crucial to speak to another human (the bird outside, the spider living in your bathroom, and the potted succulent don’t count here). A human exchange that isn’t about work is good to remind us of perspective and check in on each other’s mental and physical health. There are plenty of apps out there including and not limited to Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Houseparty and WhatsApp who all offer free video calling services as long as you have data or a wifi connection, and with all of us working to new schedules, it will be fun arranging that pub quiz or girls drinks to spend time with those who aren’t physically in your house.
Have A Break
Ultimately, living under social distancing guidelines is new territory for all of us, regardless if working from home had been your normal previously or if this is a recent adaptation. So go easy on yourself, and try to maintain as regular a schedule as you would in the office. Especially if you are no longer desk based, make time to have a stretch, wander around your house/garden, and take your tea breaks as you usually would. If calling a colleague for a quick catch up helps with this (especially for those of us who would save catch ups for the coffee machine), maybe add that to your routine too.
We realise these suggestions are nothing new, but hope they can remind you that we are all in this together. If you feel something crucial has been left out, feel free to drop us a message
and we will update it over time. Look after yourself and those you share your living space with, and we’ll make it through this together!