There was once a time where working from home was a blessing. However, working from home during a pandemic is completely alien to us all and certainly comes with its challenges. From sharing workspaces and keeping distractions at bay to managing our mental health and trying to remain positive, navigating this unchartered territory is difficult.
Here are five tips to stay productive and positive during the day.
I’m a firm believer in the power of clothes and the impact they can have on your mood. Now is a good time to have a rummage in your wardrobe and find something that makes you feel good. Whether it’s the dress you brought before you decided it’s too fancy for the office after all or your favourite jumper and those old jeans you refuse to get rid of, put it on. Heck, if socks and sandals are going to make you feel good, wear them!
Personally, I find the best work from home outfit is a comfy shirt and some yoga pants. Ultimate comfort for sitting down for long periods of time and ultimate stretch for snacking.
Whist this is quite an obvious way to boost your mood it doesn’t mean any of us actually do it. If you’re like me, you probably have a tendency to overwork and often experience a drop in productivity and positivity.
Take time to actually leave your workspace, especially at lunch. It can be tempting to stick to your workplace in the day, including eating at your desk at lunch but you’ll only be tempted to start another task while you eat. Take your sandwiches somewhere else!
It’s not just about taking a proper lunch break, though. Be sure to take small breaks throughout the day, whether it’s a quick coffee or walk around the office (house), a quick ten minutes away from your screen will help you stretch your legs and refresh your mind.
Have a conversation
We are living in the virtual world right now and whilst it’s so easy to stay connected through group chats, it doesn’t compare to real conversations and connections that you’re used to having with your co-workers.
When you’re at work you normally have a little natter whilst you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or on the way to a meeting or, if you’re lucky enough to have a best buddy at work, you might even go for lunch together. Make time for that now and, where possible, take the opportunity to speak rather than send a text or an e-mail.
Have some you time
Use the time you would be commuting to and from work to have some you time. Whether its reading some more of that book you haven’t picked up for ages, catching up on some podcasts or just sitting down with a cup of tea to reflect on your day. Take the time when you’d normally be driving your car or crammed on a train to give yourself some TLC.
Establish a workspace but maintain work/home boundaries
The idea of working from home from the comfort of your sofa or bed might be a tempting one but, let’s be honest, all you end up with is lack of motivation and a sore back. If you can, work at a desk or table ideally somewhere by a window for fresh air and natural light. Exposure to natural light is strongly linked to improved energy and mood; it improves motivation and performance as well as boosting morale and feels of peacefulness and calmness.
Boundaries can be tough when working from home and you might be founding yourself working much later than you need to. When you are done for the day, pack away your work things out of sight and remove the temptation to respond to e-mails after hours or just finish of the last bit of the report. You are not made to work 24/7.
As a freelance writer, I work from home more often than not. For me, the most productive time of day is early in the morning. I like to roll out of bed, make a nice big brew and some breakfast and get started straight away. I sit in the conservatory or in the garden if the weather permits (which it rarely does). This helps me get big jobs out of the way early on and keeps me in a positive mood.
Ultimately though, you have to do what works for you. We are living in uncertain times, but you can still find ways to make the best of what you’ve got and create a routine that works for you. Embrace this time to get creative and think outside the box. If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids entertained, you could stream some fun exercise videos for them to do. Perhaps you’re one of those people who likes to sit on a big yoga ball instead of a chair… well, now you can! Whatever you need to do to stay productive and positive when working from home, do it.