I think it’s fair to say a LOT has changed, very quickly, over the last couple of weeks, and one of those things (albeit one of the smaller changes) is our new working environments.
Due to recent events, a lot of businesses are now conducting their day-to-day from the comfort of their own homes, which means: our commutes now consist of walking to the next room/down some stairs, we’re no longer venturing out and picking up a pre-made sarnie for lunch and, for a lot of us, we’re alone!
For that first couple of days, perhaps even the first week, we relish in our extra half hour sleep and our ability to work in loungewear but, there comes a time when we miss the little things (even down to humorous post-it notes left on our desk from a colleague) and the novelty soon wears off. It’s important to keep morale high and stay positive whilst working at home to ensure productivity continues and you’re motivated to crack on with your day. With the right steps in place, and a strict routine (ok, not too strict) you can make the most out of your home office, be super-productive and enjoy your new environment! There’s no reason why, if you’re mobile, you can’t make this work!
Before working at Brilliant, I spent 7 months as a freelance writer and I managed to wriggle my way into a comfortable routine that I knew, If I stuck to, kept me focussed, positive and in a productive mindset. Don’t get me wrong, there were the odd few days at the start where my alarm was set to snooze until the very last minute, but it was usually a lot harder to hit the ground running when I’d done this. That’s when I found it usually started at the start (ironic ey?) – if you get your morning right, the rest of the day should flow with the same motivation.
If you’re in the same position and you’re currently working from home, here are a few easy wins that might just help if you find yourself in a bit of a slump some days:
Stick to the time you’d usually get up
I know what you’re thinking… ‘I could potentially have an extra hour in bed here, are you crazy?’ BUT, getting up at the same time you’d usually set your alarm for helps you not only stick to your usual routine but allows you to keep your same sleep pattern. Plus, you’ll win some time back in the morning, meaning more time for you!
When you usually go into work, you don’t roll straight from your bed into your office (some of you might, there are no judgements here), you have some time to wake up, eat breakfast, grab a coffee and kickstart your brain into gear so you’ll also need this time before starting work at home too.
So, as hard as it may initially seem, don’t delete that early morning alarm!
GET OUT OF BED
This one may sound pretty obvious but on a serious note, get out of bed. Let’s not all deny this is one of the thoughts that entered our head when we first started working from home, and it seemed like a true genius idea, but by 2 pm, I can guarantee, you’ll start to feel a tad sluggish and tired – why? Because you’re in bed, where you usually sleep. If you don’t differentiate between chill time and work hours, it becomes harder and harder to switch off and you’ll find you no longer have an area you can go to where you can switch off after work.
Before you know it, snacking from your bed, eating from your bed… what’re the limits?!
So, hop out of bed and opt for a change of scenery in the house. This will also help in making you feel more inspired, by changing what you’re looking at all day long.
Do something productive in your commuter hour
Whether your commute was a 15-minute walk from your front door or an hour’s train journey followed by a 10-minute walk through the city, there’s some time back that you previously didn’t have. Use this time to incorporate a bit of exercise into your day.
Not only does morning exercise help you start your day positively by clearing your head, but it also helps you feel energised and overall happier. It’s that creative headspace your body might be crying out for before you start your day.
Try to switch it up each morning – go for your daily walk one day, do a home workout routine the next – this will keep you motivated to try something different each morning and keep your workouts fresh.
If you want to skip all of the above and jump straight to one, this could be the ONE!
Breakfast. I’ll hold my hands up and say I was guilty of skipping breakfast when actually heading into the office. I’d wake up with good intentions but before I knew it, I’d be on the train, walking to the office, making a brew and then getting stuck into my first task of the day.
Now you’re at home, you have the time! You’ve got the time to whip up something special too. Save some different recipes on your phone and give a different one a go each morning.
This could also be a fun way to keep in contact with your colleagues (about something other than work) start a breakfast chat and post pictures of your breakfast each morning because let’s face it, everyone likes looking at food.
Don’t be afraid to move around
If it’s an option, every other day or every week, move rooms and change the space that you work. Looking at the same four walls every day can become pretty stale, especially if you’re working on a creative task – you need inspiration!
I’d try and make a habit of this in the office too. Luckily, we have a cool working space which means we can hop from sofa to table, to a standing desk to a local cafe and mix it up a little bit. Although getting out is difficult at the moment, improvise in your home. Set yourself the challenge to see how many different spots in your house you can work from.
It’s little things like this that keep it interesting, keep your mind entertained, and allow you to feel productive from the get-go.
Finally, one of the most important things I learnt whilst working as a freelance writer was getting your daily dose of conversation. I can guarantee this is something that everyone takes for granted until you start working from home.
I was very lucky whilst working freelance, as I was travelling around, so there was always someone knocking around – whether they were in a dorm or the next hut, they were there.
Make the effort to jump on a FaceTime/Skype call and ring a friend/colleague/family member to just have a bit of a chat. A lot of people are in a similar situation right now, so I can guarantee they’ll welcome the digital company.