More Australian’s are now being encouraged and even directed to work from home. While this might be great news for your pets, having extra time with their humans, this can mean extra challenges from the demands of work life and home life.
The idea of sending emails in your PJs from the lounge room may seem like a dream, there are significant advantages and disadvantages to working from home, and these can take a toll on your mental health. The main feelings that can occur can be loneliness, isolation, anxiety, stress, pressure and depression.
In this blog, we’ll chat through some tips to help you stay healthy and happy while you’re working from home.
Establish a work zone
Set up a dedicated workspace in your home, even if it’s your kitchen table or small desk, this is crucial for productivity and focus, allowing you to mentally and physically separate your work and home life. Jane Scudder, a certified personal development and career transition coach said “either way, have a workspace that you can go to for work and that you can leave or walk away from after the workday is done.” (1)
Stick to a schedule
Over 40% of people say their flexible schedule is the best part of working remotely.
But how you organise that schedule is key and makes all the difference. It can be easy to procrastinate, especially when the TV and your bed are oh so close. By setting defined work hours, you can organise tasks, outline goals and mentally prepare yourself for what to expect in the day. In addition, besides setting defined work hours, it is recommended you follow the same regular routine as you normally would if you were going to work — waking up at the same time, showering, eating brekky, having a coffee, getting dressed.
Carve out time each day to fit in fun activities such as exercise, meditation, self-care practices and hobbies that make you happy. Some other self-care activities can include a quick at-home yoga session, hot shower or indulging in your favorite podcasts or book.
Making time for rest and relaxation is crucial to avoid feeling disconnected and helps you to feel refreshed and motivated.
It is easy to feel pressured and overwork yourself when working from home, in order to prove to your team you are actually working, however taking breaks within the day is critical to mental health.
Julie Kratz, executive coach and author says “breaks are important when working at home.” She suggests that for every hour of focused work you complete, you should take at least a 10-minute break to grab a snack, walk around or say “hi” to your kids. (3) Give your eyes, neck, shoulders, head and back a much-needed rest!
While taking this time to break, it is completely fine to communicate this with your boss as it’s important to keep communication transparent.
Communication is key
Once you start working from home, conversations about work and play will diminish quickly and suddenly. You may need to start making more of an effort to communicate with your colleagues. Check-in and let them know what you’re working on, ask them how their weekend was, it doesn’t all have to be work-related. This will help make everyone feel more connected.
As working from home will be a new experience for most, there will be some time getting used to the video chats and technical issues. However, it is important to remember you are part of a team and most likely, everyone else in your team is feeling the same. We are not alone!