Working from home is an unfamiliar concept for many of us who are used to commuting to the office everyday. Once the novelty of working in your pyjamas and 24/7 access to the fridge has worn off, you may be left feeling a little lonely and unmotivated in your improvised work space. In this post I talk through all the tips and tricks I’ve shared with the Mercarto team to keep everyone happy and productive throughout lockdown...
Even if you’re not heading into the office, get dressed and ready like you would for a normal work day. As tempting as it is to just roll straight out of bed and onto your laptop, this won’t get you in the right mindset for a day of work.
How you prepare yourself for the day will affect your motivation, and staying in your PJs and skipping the morning shower is likely to keep you in a sleepy state of mind.
Preparing yourself for the day ahead will give you confidence and help keep you focused.
Boring, I know! But a brisk stroll at lunchtime will help release those happy endorphins. Even if it’s a quick walk around your street or nipping out to run an errand, getting 5 minutes of fresh air will refresh your mind and help you feel alert.
In fact, a Harvard study even linked poor indoor air quality to lower productivity, so having a quick trip outdoors will give you a cognitive boost.
The borders between work and personal life can blur when you’re working from home, so don’t neglect your need for a break.
No one can work productively for 8 - 9 hours a day without taking some time to rest. Get up, have a stretch, move your body and focus on something other than work for a short while.
One of the quickest ways to feel burnt out is not giving your mind the proper rest it requires.
Eye strain from staring at your laptop all day is a real thing! When you feel your eyes drying up or losing focus from staring at a screen for too long, take a walk around the living room or somewhere else in your house to give your eyes a break.
Eye strain can cause other uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, neck/ shoulder ache, blurry vision and tired eyes.
You may even want to look into blue-light blocking glasses which absorb blue or UV light from your screen which can reduce the strain on your eyes.
Don’t let yourself get distanced from your team. Loneliness can be one of the hardest things about working from home, so put in place some strategies to make sure you’re communicating.
Utilise software like Zoom or Google Hangouts to schedule in ‘virtual coffee breaks’ to have a catch up with colleagues.
It doesn’t have to be work-related, but it’s a good way to keep up that strong work relationship that can be hard to maintain when you’re not in the office.
If you're someone who struggles with motivation then set yourself goals (this can be for work or personal) by creating a checklist of goals or things you'd like to achieve throughout the week.
Write them down in a diary or use an online tool such as Trello which allows you to create boards and label different tasks. It will be there as a friendly little reminder to keep you going.
If you are struggling to work from home it’s so important to speak to your manager or supervisor. They are there to help you at home just like they would in the office, so give them a chance to come up with a plan that works best for you.
Some people work better with regularly scheduled catch up calls and meetings throughout the week and some people work better with less. We’re all different!
You may find yourself communicating and working from home with ease, but perhaps you have a colleague who isn't. Reach out, start a conversation and you could make a massive difference to someone who maybe is struggling.
There’s no harm in asking how someone is coping with new circumstances, and it’s comforting for them to know they have someone to talk to if they need.
Finally, as a business I’d recommend getting some of those lockdown classics booked in the diary like a "pub quiz" or "virtual game" etc, unoriginal I know! But they make a biiiig difference, particularly to people who live on their own whilst working from home.
It’s a simple way to get everyone together and have some fun when things might seem a bit daunting. If you’re not sure what your team might enjoy ask them or run a poll with some virtual team building ideas.
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