Working from home can present a big change and many challenges to people who are used to working in an office.
There are several tricks and rules to creating a healthy balance and working environment in your home.
1) Create a routine
It is easy to fall into the trap of 24hr availability when you are working from home, but ultimately this is not good for your mental health or work-life balance.
Psychotherapists who see patients at home will be used to setting rules and boundaries already. Follow their lead.
Just because you are not in the office does not mean that you should not work your regular office hours and only work your regular office hours.
Tip: It is helpful to make contact with your colleagues (phone, text message, WhatsApp, Skype etc.) when you start in the morning, to let them know you are about to start work. This helps you feel connected and keep regular working patterns.
2) Take a lunch break
At home, it’s more tempting to carry on working through lunch and have a sandwich at your desk when you don’t see your colleagues breaking for lunch.
Make sure you stop, turn away from your computer, and have the lunch break you are entitled to.
Regular breaks increase efficiency, prevent problems like carpel tunnel syndrome, and stop you from going stir-crazy.
If possible, you should take a break from your screen every half and hour. Walk into the kitchen for a glass of water, go to the toilet, stretch in the hallway, step into the garden – whatever you do that gets your body moving and your eyes off a screen will help.
3) Unless absolutely necessary, do not use your personal phone for work
Keep your work-life balance and work-life divide by reserving your personal phone for your personal use only.
You can use Skype, Zoom, Teams, and other programmes for face-to-face video meetings and phone calls.
4) Make regular contact with your colleagues
Working from home can feel very isolating. It is important to keep in regular contact with your colleagues.
Schedule in meetings (which you can hold online) and phone calls at least weekly.
Try to call your line manager and team members daily.
Tip: create a list of tasks/project that you and your colleagues will work towards each week. This keeps everyone connected and focussed.