In these challenging times Yvonne Smyth, Director of Human Resources at Hays helps us manage our wellbeing whilst the majority of people are stuck in isolation working from home.
Working from home can present a number of challenges, particularly to professionals who haven’t had experience of this before. It has the potential to feel isolating and lonely if you are used to an office environment, which is where proactively looking after your wellbeing comes into play.
In light of the huge numbers of professionals who are now working remotely, here are seven simple ways you can look after your wellbeing in order to stay mentally and physically healthy and keep working productively.
1. Stick to a routine
We’re creatures of habit, so maintaining a day-to-day routine is no bad thing. If working at home is new to you, try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible unless you need to change it for logistical reasons. It may sound obvious, but getting up and dressed before arriving at your desk for the day will put you in the right frame of mind to tackle your tasks for the day. Then when the working day is done, log off and move your attention to something unrelated to work to avoid feeling burnt out.
2. Be disciplined about your workspace
If you don’t have a separate room to work in, try your best to still create a dedicated space to work in from home. At the very least it should be somewhere you can properly set up your devices and where you can comfortably sit for the day. Keep it clutter-free and away from any distractions. If you discipline yourself to only work in this space, you’ll find it easier to keep your focus and still enjoy your time in other parts of your home.
3. Be a home worker, not a lone worker
Communication is key when working from home and has a significant bearing on your wellbeing. Set up some agreed channels of communication with your colleagues and keep it frequent – but also be aware of not overwhelming yourself. You’ll mainly be communicating about work, but make time for more casual conversations too which tend to happen more naturally in the office.
4. Talk face-to-face with your colleagues
Wherever possible, communicate with your colleagues via video calls. Face-to-face conversations are more engaging than just talking over the phone and will help you feel more connected to the person you’re talking to. Just remember to keep your background neutral and remove anything that might be distracting to those on the other side of the screen.
5. Remember to take breaks
The structure of working in an office can mean you are more likely to remember to give yourself a break, whether that’s chatting to a colleague or popping out to buy lunch each day. You might be less inclined to do this when working from your own home, so you need to be proactive about taking a few moments off work to give yourself a break.
Go for a walk outside, make a nice meal or take some time out to chat to a friend on the phone. Short breaks will help you refocus on your work which ultimately supports your productivity and mental health.
6. Don’t let your physical health slide
You’ve probably heard it before, but eat well, sleep well and exercise well. These really are the cornerstones of good physical health and shouldn’t be ignored just because you’re working from home. If you find yourself with more time in the day as a result of not commuting, it’s a good opportunity to do something for your physical health which has a knock-on effect on your productivity and wellbeing.
7. Give yourself a pat on the back
While you should still expect to have support from your colleagues and manager while working remotely, you are somewhat more responsible for keeping yourself motivated. I would recommend ending your day by reflecting on what you have achieved by recalling your successes and highlights in order to maintain a positive outlook on your work.
Finally, do remember that it can be difficult to adjust to working from home. To help you get used to this way of working, take the steps I’ve outlined above to look after your wellbeing. This will ultimately help you keep your spirits high and be productive at work, no matter where you’re based.