The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people to move to remote working. For some this is a dream come true, while for others it means a constant struggle between home life and the demands of daily office life.
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Assess your requirements
When it comes to working from home there’s no such thing as “one size fits all”. The first step is to assess what your job demands. If you work as a freelancer (writing or web design, for example) then you’ll probably be quite used to working remotely. For some jobs it will be necessary to put together a sophisticated home office that provides all the required equipment such as printers, laptops, remote desktop apps and company-specific software and systems. If your work involves a lot of interaction and meetings then setting yourself up in a clean, bright space is essential.
Get reliable tech
There’s nothing more frustrating than patchy Internet access, and when you’re working from home it’s ten times as problematic. Make sure that you have a stable Wi-Fi connection in your home office and make regular checks on your gear so you aren’t blindsided with dead batteries or similar annoyances.
If you’re used to working on site, then switching to a remote environment could be a shock. Interaction with co-workers and clients will automatically be reduced. Communication is important wherever you’re working, but a home office set-up demands a lot more effort in terms of reaching out and letting people know what’s going on. When you’re working alone at home, that’s the time to step up your game, signup online and maintain your relationships with your colleagues, employers or employees.
Keep a routine
Having a routine, whether it’s daily or weekly, is incredibly helpful in many situations – especially ones involving a lot of change and uncertainty. Going through a pandemic is something that nobody on Earth has experienced before (unless they are very, very old), and a set plan to structure your days provides a sense of security. Keep mealtimes regular whenever possible, maintain good sleep hygiene and schedule in time for exercise.
Separate work from home
Just as important as having a daily routine is knowing how to leave work when you’re not physically going anywhere. Many office workers struggle with taking work home with them (literally and metaphorically), and when your office has migrated to your spare bedroom it’s that much harder to “switch off” when you clock out.
This requires setting boundaries with your employer, colleagues, and most importantly yourself. Going offline when you finish the day can be helpful, as long as you have communicated your plans to those you work with. If you can, it’s great idea to keep your home office shut when your work day has finished – it might be in your house, but it doesn’t have to become part of home life.
No matter what, though, the best approach to a tricky situation is to look for the silver lining and keep your mind on what you can do to keep yourself happy and healthy.