Working from home: Be careful what you wish for16 Apr 2020

Many of us dream of working from home. Wouldn’t it be great to jump out of bed in your pyjamas to grab a cup of coffee before returning to read your emails? Well, for those of us who have been “living the dream” during lockdown, the reality can be quite different. So how do we adapt and even thrive in this new work environment?

Start your day a better way
You may not have been a morning exerciser before COVID-19, but now that you’re working from home you can become one. Use the time you’d typically spend on commuting, making school lunches or dropping the kids to school to get a bit of fresh air or exercise. It doesn’t have to be strenuous – a brisk walk or an online yoga class are great ways to wake up your body and mind.

Dress in clothes that have a waistband
Working in your pyjamas or track pants all day sounds like heaven but can make it tricky to shift into work mode. You don’t have to wear a suit or a dress (unless your video meeting calls for it), but changing into smart casual clothes will help you change your mindset. Wearing clothes with a waistband has the added advantage of alerting you to any creeping weight gain and motivating you to move more!

Find a space and close the door
With children and partners at home, this can be a real challenge. If you don’t have a home office, set yourself up at one end of the dining room table or in any spare room you can find - use the garage or sleepout if you must. Just make sure you’ve got adequate lighting, heating, and a desk and chair at the correct height. Luckily essential services include the delivery of home office equipment, so get online and get what you need to work comfortably.

Break up your time and establish a routine
When you work from home, it’s easy to get distracted, but it’s also easy to spend the entire day hunched over your computer and not see the light of day. Neither option will produce the best result. Calendar your day into chunks of work time with reminders when it’s time to take a break or move on to the next task. Turn off your audible notifications while you’re engaged in tasks that require serious concentration and schedule breaks specifically for stretching your legs and getting out of your workspace, replying to emails, chats and texts, and checking social media.

Whether you’ve worked from home occasionally in the past or have entered completely new territory, it seems likely that we’ll be doing a lot more of it for the foreseeable future. Enjoy the flexibility and extra time that working from home can offer and avoid the pitfalls by bringing structure to your day.