For just over a week now, most of the UK who are able to have been locked down in their homes. While this is hugely beneficial for the long-term goal of beating the coronavirus, that doesn’t make things any easier living in the here and now, does it.
About 1.5m people work from home every week already, so will be clued up on how all this works. But what about the rest of us? Those who have been thrown in the deep end and are now wading their way through boredom, cabin fever, sore backs and mild insanity? Well, we have put together some quick tips on how to keep your spirits high, your mind in check and your body as healthy as possible.
1. Getting Dressed for Work
Spending the day in your pyjamas could be considered the dream, but no. It’s best to get out of your comfies and into something more ‘work appropriate’. Just pop on a smart-casual top and a pair of jeans – easy! You could go full ‘home office’ by wearing a suit if you like – whatever you need to get you into the work mindset. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Apart from pyjamas. Pyjamas are wrong.
2. Establishing Home-Work Boundaries
You’re working from home – it’s important to separate those two things. Work. Home. If you can, get your workspace as far away from your sleeping quarters as you can. Don’t lay in bed all day on your laptop. Your mind (and your spine) will thank you for it later. And if your partner is working from home too, try and make office hours as normal as possible by meeting in the kitchen for coffee breaks to have a moan about how the cat isn’t pulling its weight.
3. Getting Outside (If You Can)
You’re allowed to go for a walk, run or cycle, so make the most of it while you can – within the Government’s rules, of course. It’ll help to dust off those cobwebs and keep cabin fever at bay for a bit. If you’ve used up your fresh air quota for the day, open the window and have a little YouTube yoga session or something similar. Your body might need all the help it can get now that last night’s leftovers are only a short walk away.
4. Picking Up the Phone
Chances are you’re alone or locked up with the family right now. It won’t be long until you actually start to miss your usual day-to-day conversations with your colleagues. What may have used to seem like mundane chinwags are now more important than ever. So make a little time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation, rather than relying on email and WhatsApp. You could even arrange a morning ‘coffee break’ where you talk about anything but work: what you’ve been binging on Netflix, any DIY achievements, updates on how that 1000-piece jigsaw is going…
5. Taking Regular Breaks
A five-minute break every 25 minutes has even been known to boost productivity – tell your boss! There’s plenty you can do at home to get a few minutes away from your home office desk. Clean the kitchen worktop, bleach the toilet, hoover a room, water some plants – that way you get to benefit from your break after you finish your working day too.
6. Don’t Sit in the Dark
Open the curtains, and let the sunshine in. You don’t want to feel like you’re working away in a dim, dark cave for the next few weeks. That would not be good for your morale, and probably won’t be too good for your eyes either. If you’re not lucky enough to have a window in the immediate vicinity of your workspace, be sure to light the place up with either your main light or a desk light. It will make you feel less like an internet troll and more like a human being.
For inspiration, here are a few snaps of some of our designers’ dedicated workspaces