The pandemic ushered in a new and unprecedented era of home working, with most offices closing their doors.
No matter what the future holds, this appears to be a trend that’s set to continue.
#1 Differentiate home from work
This is the most important tip, but perhaps one of the hardest to implement. Even though you’re working from home, you need to carefully divide your home/working environment. This has productivity and mental health benefits. Doing all your work in the main family rooms, with the television blaring and children playing, isn’t a good idea. You’ll find it harder to concentrate, tasks will take longer and stress will inevitably build. Similarly, when the working day comes to an end you need to be able to leave work behind and relax.
Try to design a home office that has your computer, files and an ergonomic office chair. This is your workroom. Ask that people only disturb you if it’s urgent and make sure that the whole household is aware of your office. When the day comes to an end you can close the door and leave work behind. This psychological differentiation means that work doesn’t saturate your home life, safeguarding mental health and providing a routine.
#2 Take scheduled breaks and find ways to relax
Since you’re already at home, the home/work balance can become blurred. Working hours tend to elongate and you can lose sight of taking time for yourself. Always schedule breaks and get away from the computer screen. It’s tempting to spend the break flicking through social media, but use it to go for a walk, exercise; even just stepping away and brewing a cup of coffee can make a big difference.
When the working day comes to an end, don’t dip back in. Instead, find ways to relax and destress. Treat working from home exactly as you would working at the office. Spend time with family and friends when the day ends, prepare dinner and generally do all that you can to maintain a healthy balance. Working from home encourages a certain amount of absorption, but don’t let your job come to dominate your family life.
#3 See if you can work a hybrid model
Many have relished the change to work from home, but for others, the lack of support and sensation of isolation has been less than appealing. Employers are flexible, and many are now offering some kind of hybrid model that fuses home with office work. Hybrid working takes many forms, but there are broadly three types.
The first and most common has you work a part of your week at home and then another portion in the office. This gives you a set routine and most employers will be flexible about the days. A similar model involves working one week in the office and another week at home. Finally, some companies will allow you to base yourself at home but keep the office open for enquiries, advice or simply as a place to go when you need some quiet.