There’s no doubt COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we work. Bedrooms have turned into offices, meetings into Zooms and colleagues into housemates. In April 2020, 46.6 per cent of employees were working from home and the numbers have remained high ever since.
Working from home presents new challenges both for employers and employees, with 30.2 per cent of workers reporting that their productivity has fallen in recent months. It is not going away any time soon, so now is the time to rethink how you can stay on track and remain productive while working from home.
Working from home has been seen in many instances to narrow that all-important gap between ‘work’ and ‘life.’ Indeed, according to one report, almost 25 per cent of UK workers don’t fully log off until as last as 8pm. To combat this, create a schedule and stick to it.
Maintaining regular hours and having a clear structure to your working day will help you keep your work-life balance. Schedule frequent breaks and maintain the same hours you would in the office as much as possible. Not only will this help you be better organised it could also make it easier when workplaces re-open and more ‘regular’ hours return.
Having a clearly defined space that is reserved for work and only work, is incredibly important. While it won’t necessarily afford you a complete separation between your home and work life, it will at least limit the opportunities for your job to become all-consuming at home. If possible, only use it during work hours – that way, the physical separation can positively influence the mental separation too and enable you to switch off when the working day is over.
Make your space as stress-free as possible. Set ground rules with other house members. Keep your workspace off-limits during the day to make your workplace a zone of concentration. If this is not possible, invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Not only will they create peace and quiet but wearing them can signal to your house members that your work has begun and distractions should be kept to a minimum.
Working from home can be isolating, but you’re not on your own. Keep connected with your team members through video and phone calls. Join in on other collective activities, such as optional meetings or the after-work quiz. You can even consider video calling a colleague and working alongside them to replicate an office atmosphere.
If you’re really struggling don’t hesitate to ask for help, you might be surprised to find out how many colleagues are feeling the same. Create a group WhatsApp or chat to keep connected and support each other.
Well, get outside as much as you can in the current guidelines. Try and fit some kind of outdoor exercise, whether that be a morning run or walk around the block during lunch. Spending time outdoors lowers stress and helps you relax, getting you in a clear headspace to work productively.
In fact, one study undertaken by researchers at Stanford University found that workers are 60 per cent more creative (and productive) after just 15 minutes of exercise, such as walking or jogging.
And if, when the clock strikes 5pm, you’re dusting off your CV and searching for that next all-important career move, imagine how much sharper and impactful your application might be?