Blink and you might have missed it… March to December seems to have gone by in a flash. Would you have imagined this is what your 2020 would have looked like at the start of the year?
It is safe to say that we are living in challenging and uncertain times with many of us over the past months finding ourselves having to adapt to ways of working that we weren’t previously accustomed to.
Many people are now finding that they are working from home for the majority of their working week (if not all of it) and some without a designated office space. It isn’t uncommon to find people typing from their dining room table or propped up at the end of their breakfast bar. If this is you, believe me, you are not alone! Those that weren’t already familiar with video calling conference systems such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom have had to get to grips with those platforms to ensure that business carries on regardless.
There is no longer the concept of leaving the house to go and start the working day or leaving the office of an evening to ‘switch off’, relax and recharge. Work and home environments are now very much intertwined.
In this new way of working it is easy to get into the habit of working out of hours or even being on call for tasks that if you were in the office, you wouldn’t normally be. An email request for a ‘quick’ completion of a task can be actioned instantly with the office now physically within reach to be able to get it done. For the conscientious and proactive it can understandably be hard not to work longer hours. However, it is important to establish boundaries from the outset or to re-establish them if you’ve found yourself overworked with greater and greater expectations placed on your shoulders.
- First and foremost be strict and set boundaries, as without them you’ll soon find that your working day is extending into the evenings and starting earlier and earlier. Employee’s working hours should be the same as if they were in the office, no greater and no less.
- Learn to say no rather than taking on more than your working day can cope with. Ensuring communication is kept consistent and that expectations and workloads are reviewed consistently will help to ensure that unnecessary stress isn’t placed on one individual. Speak up, say no, and don’t suffer in silence.
- Turn off those email notifications out of hours! It is easy to be tempted to read an email and before you know it be fully consumed by a work issue that could have waited until the morning.
- Make sure you keep some structure to your day as without it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the outcome of your day not feeling as productive as it could have been.
- If you can, set up your own workspace even if it is only temporary. It will work wonders for your mindset and give a certain physical definition to your day. Working from your kitchen should be avoided at all costs as you will inevitably feel like you are unable to switch off and escape from work. The kitchen is the heart of the home and no one wants their work to be there too.
- Prioritise your tasks for the day and find yourself a work buddy where you can hold each other accountable. In the morning set out the tasks for completion in order of urgency. Make note of those that must be completed, tasks that should be completed, and tasks that need to be completed by the end of the week.
- Structure to your day will help with self-discipline and the feeling of accomplishment.
- It is tempting to not take a lunch break, but it is so important to make every effort to practice self-care and to be kind to yourself. A lunch break should be structured into your day and deemed an absolute necessity. You will reap the rewards as a break from work to refresh and reenergise will make for a much more productive afternoon.
- Make it a priority to have a change of scenery and go for a walk for 30 minutes. Staring at the same four walls and computer screen will do little for your wellbeing and taking regular breaks for fresh air will certainly help.
- Make plans for your weekend that will bring positive energy and an uplift to your week. Get stuck into a new hobby or meet up with a friend or family member outside and have that human interaction that we all crave.
Working from home in times of such uncertainty can raise feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, worry and stress and it is so important that we look after our wellbeing as well as encouraging employee’s to look after theirs.
Do you need some extra help?
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.