I hope this blog post finds you well amidst these unfamiliar and unprecedented times.
During the current COVID -19 Pandemic, the advice for many has been to work from home (if you can). From what I can see online, some appear to be struggling with it from a mental health/mindfulness perspective.
As lots of you may know, as well as being Mum to my three year old, I am currently self employed and typically work from home. I have been earning modest money producing online content via social media/my blog and from our small property development portfolio. As well as renovating houses (and being a super hands on Dad) my husband is a Director at an international firm so is very much employed but also works from home when he’s not working overseas (not in the current climate of course) or pretty much building houses. Previous to this, I worked in Legal/Finance and am all too familiar with office life (where I again anticipate returning to at some point in the future!)
My husband and I actually calculated that we must spend at least 22 hours a day together. As well as the usual man/wife time, we also run together where possible and work together in our little home office (I don’t tend to show this or our actual bedroom on the gram for privacy reasons) in the box room.
Obviously, everyone is different but these are my top tips for working from home (and potentially together) on my days ‘in the office’ where Alex is in pre – school/with Grandparents.
1 ) Create routine and structure to your day. Lists are always a good idea. I get such satisfaction from ticking things off, just like I used to in the office. Ask yourself what in your morning routine delineates when you start work? For me it’s usually 8.30am when I am sat down with a coffee to work through emails. Do the same of an evening – decide when to call it a day. I tend to have a digital detox for a few hours and cook dinner/enjoy quality time with my son between 5-8pm.
2) Get dressed. I’m not saying stick the pinstripe on, or even a smart dress and heels but a top and jeans or sweat and leggings at the very least. It’s so easy to just kick around in a hoody and PJ bottoms but I personally found that it’s a bad strategy for me and I am just not in the right mindset.
3)Ration treats like biscuits and sweeties and keep them out of reach. I confess, I even stash chocolate high up in my wardrobe (now praying my husband doesn’t see this) so it’s not facing me every time I open the fridge or cupboard.
4)Take breaks. As well as a lunch break I will take breaks to go and iron clothes, stick a wash on or prep dinner for the evening. Anything to get me away from the screens/what I am currently working on. Give your mind a break – with everything going on, the last thing you need is burnout! Chances are, you aren’t working 100% of the time you are in the office anyway.
5) Stay in contact with people. I often have skype open whilst I am working so I can have little side chats on the go. Although this doesn’t apply at this moment in time (as I m respectful of social distancing) I also try and meet at least two people for coffee a week, whether that’s my mum, mum friends, blogger peers. It was only once I started working from home I realised that I missed organising charity social stuff and the office banter. Even if, unlike me you are an introvert you can still feel lonely so bear in mind online networking or facetime.
6) Everyone is different but I find having a designated office/work space helps. If you are lucky enough to have an office or designate a make shift space in the spare room for example – then go for it! If not, perhaps work at the end of the dining table you don’t usually sit down to eat of an evening at. With no occupational Health around – think about a chair that also supports your back. Although it sounds good in theory, maybe being sat on the bed with a laptop on your knee isn’t the best idea?
7) Keep this work space organised and tidy as you would in work! Tidy space = tidy mind.
8) Work together as a team in your household. Work in shifts, ie if the doorbell goes or you need to get on the phone to a the broadband provider. If I know my ‘colleague’ (husband) is on a call for 2 hours, I will ensure I get the round of drinks in. Sometimes a snack too! Although I always was a top contender in the tea round!
9) Working from home or not – ensure you don’t take your stress etc out on others. Invest in a stress ball or go pet the cat and reflect on what’s really getting to you 😘.
10) Go outside, water the flowers or take a quick walk around the block. Fresh air does wonders for the soul.
Lots of this I am sure you will already do/be thinking of. Sometimes the answers are right there, other times you may need inspiration from others, and that’s why I am here! 😊 Are there other colleagues in the same boat you can connect with or perhaps drop a line to other’s in the same field/industry?!
As always, thanks for reading.
Until next time,