In light of the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, many businesses have opted to implement alternate working arrangements such as working from home: Bloomberg has described this as “the world’s largest work-from-home experiment.”
So, what can you do to ensure you’re staying productive and healthy in this period of change?
1. Set a daily routine
Plan out your day according to tasks you’d like to complete. Use a diary or online calendar to plan out your work schedule, making time for regular breaks and lunch.
It might be tempting to work into the evenings, for example, but try to stick to your normal work hours to ensure your work-life balance is not affected. If you work for a company, it’s likely you’ll have set working hours already, it’s best to stick to these where possible i.e. start your day at the same time as you’d arrive at the office and switch your computer off at the same time you would normally leave the office.
It’s also important to start your day well - the prospect of working in your pyjamas might be appealing but ensuring to wash and get dressed each day will improve your state of mind and prepare you for work.
2. Allocate a dedicated work space within the home
You may enjoy working from your sofa or bedroom, but it’s important to create a dedicated workspace that’s separate from your living area or relaxing spaces.
Research suggests that reserving the bedroom for sleep makes it easier for you to rest each night. Working in a space you usually reserve for relaxing/sleeping can mean that you brain begins to associate that room with work and your ability to get a full night’s sleep can be inhibited. On the reverse side, your productivity can also be inhibited when working in a bedroom because your brain may think it’s time to sleep.
If you have a desk, set up a comfortable work station there. If not, consider using a dining table instead. If you share your home with family finding a quiet space where you’re less likely to be disturbed is essential. This can be tricky with children so ensure to agree boundaries with them on when you can spend time with them and when you need to focus on your work.
3. Take regular breaks to exercise
It’s vitally important to look after your mind and body whilst working from home. Take time out of your day to keep active by stretching, meditating or having a lunchtime workout to keep your energy levels up.
Working from home doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re stuck inside all day – if the weather is nice and you’re not self-isolating or living in an area where the local authority has asked you to stay indoors, go for a short walk to clear your mind – doing so can also help you focus on a tricky task. There are also plenty of free fitness apps and online content that you could use quickly and easily during your break to exercise.
4. Check in with your colleagues regularly – use video conferencing to say hello
It’s likely that you’re used to sharing the same office or workspace with your colleagues and being able to easily talk to them throughout the day - so suddenly working from home can be a big change. If you live alone, it’s also possible that you could spend the whole day without speaking to anyone which can have a negative impact on your mental health and feel isolating.
But in this digital age, there are plenty of ways to keep up communications with your team, wherever they are in the world. Pick up the phone and join a web chat or video call in times where you feel lonely or need help with a task. It’s important to make time for real conversations, rather than relying on email and instant messaging.
For more advice on Covid-19, click here.
If you’re an NES contractor, our teams are fully committed to supporting you should you require any assistance during this time. We prioritise the health and mental wellbeing of our contractors and shall do all we can to ensure you are supported at this time. Please reach out to your local representative if you need us.