What a strange time we find ourselves in, the large portion of the country is now working from home. While many may rejoice at first with the eradication of the morning commute and the thought of not having to adorn a suit for weeks, if not months, the novelty can quickly wear off.
Now, more than ever, we need to find ways to keep ourselves sane while confined to our homes. With new government guidelines reducing social contact with friends and family and limited time to exercise, we bring you our 10 top tips on how to keep sane while working from home during the Covid-19 outbreak.
1. Create a Working Space
While it may be tempting to work in bed or from the sofa, there are recreational areas that should be separated from our working lives.
If you have a desk or office space in your home, make the most of this. If you don’t you can get creative, ironing boards seem to be the current make-shift desk of choice.
You need to create this area to create a definitive space for work that is separated from areas you want to relax in. Make sure to remove yourself from this area at the end of the working day so you can clearly separate your brain from work and rest.
2. Call Your Workmates
While the work-related calls may still be plentiful, you should still call your colleagues for a general natter.
When you were in the office, it is most likely you had chats about a myriad of subjects, from the latest Netflix series to what you’re having for dinner.
It’s important to keep these up, especially if you live alone and won’t have someone else to talk to. This helps to maintain relationships with your team and keep an eye on everyone’s mental health.
Let’s face it, a lot of your conversation in the office were probably hours wasted on non-work related topics, so why change now?
3. Take a Break
It’s very easy to overwork when you’re at home but taking breaks is essential. Set yourself a clear lunchbreak and stick to that time. Turn off work notifications during this time and use it to relax.
It is also unlikely you spent 8 hours of your normal day working, we all take 5 or 10 minutes to catch up with someone at their desk or check personal emails and social media.
While you may feel pressured to prove your ability at home by never leaving your keyboard, your brain needs a break. If you have a garden, take frequent breaks just to get some fresh air for a few minutes
4. Keep Your Workstation Clean
Studies have shown some desk items can have more bacteria than a public toilet seat! With such a huge focus on washing our hands at the moment, there should be no exception with desks, keyboards and computer mice, click here for the full study.
At the end of each working day, wipe down your work station. Remove any rubbish and get rid of any dirty mugs and crockery. This will make it a lot more bearable to sit down at the following morning.
You should also make it a pleasurable environment to be in, you’d be amazed at the difference a houseplant or decorative pen pot can make.
5. Get Dressed
It may seem like the dream at first, being able to work in your pyjamas, this could actually hinder your productivity.
You may have been able to get away with writing all your essays in your nightwear when you were a student but it probably won’t be great now.
Getting washed and dressed, even if into your trackies, each morning can really help get you into the mindset for the working day.
6. Know When to Stop
It can be very tempting to quickly turn your laptop back on to send ‘just one more email’. Don’t. It is important for your mental health to switch off.
Treat your evenings and weekends just like you would if you weren’t working from home. This time is for you and your family and not for work. Just because you happen to have your work laptop with you doesn’t mean you should compromise your own time.
One email can quickly spiral into hours more work, which can lead to stress and anxiety.
7. Get Some Exercise
While we can’t get as much exercise as we are used to, it is important to keep this up. You may not be a huge fan of exercise, but you don’t need to break a sweat to keep yourself active.
Take a walk in your garden, this is great when you’re stuck on a tedious phone call as it can give you a change of scenery and you won’t feel guilty being away from your desk.
We all have to be inventive with our exercise, but there are solutions. There are plenty of easy videos online you can follow to get that heart rate up.
If you really feel like you don’t have the time to be away from your desk, you could purchase a mini exercise bike. These sit nicely under your desk and will keep those leg muscles moving while working.
8. Be Conscious of What You Listen To
We all have different tastes in music and we can now finally listen to what we want while working.
Be careful what you put on, there may be styles of music that make you less productive. There could even be songs or albums that bring emotions to yourself which will cause your concentration to waver.
If you prefer to watch TV while working, don’t put on the lastest drama you’re hooked on. It is unlikely you’ll be able to turn away. We all know how dull daytime TV can be but can’t be great background noise. This is one of the few instances where boring TV can actually be better!
9. Hug Your Pets
The only winners in this outbreak are the nations’ pets who are experiencing more time with their owners.
Take a break to hug your dog and stroke your cat. They will love the attention as they may be confused about your growing presence but lack of attention to them.
Studies have proven that animals can reduce stress within humans and can be great therapy when everything seems too overwhelming.
10. Keep Water Close By
We won’t patronise you with why it is important to drink plenty of water, we all know this by now. It is very easy to forget to do so when at home.
With access to our own fridges, it is easier to opt for juice and fizzy drinks. You can deter yourself from this by keeping a jug or large water bottle close by.