Expert-Approved Advice For Working From Home
7 minutes read
Feeling a little lethargic, unmotivated, and looking for some advice for working from home? While working from home does have perks (goodbye commute), for many of us these changes have been challenging, such as juggling work while creating a balance in our personal and family life.
“Creating and sticking to a routine when working from home helps us to remain consistent in achieving our goals and maintaining balance in our lives. For work and home life, consistency is far more effective at helping us achieve something than motivation or willpower,” says James Capell-Abra, Lead Mental Health First Aid Instructor at Stress Matter UK.
Beauty Daily speaks to leading mental health experts about simple tips that can help you feel more productive and motivated and take care of your mental health while working from home.
Six Expert-Approved Tips For Working From Home
“The key is to make routines that excite you, which feel fun and energising rather than a chore or something you feel you must do. Nailing your routines will also really help to create boundaries between work time, home time, family time and me time,” Capell-Abra notes
Here are six expert-approved tips you can take inspiration from at home that can boost your productivity and prevent possible burnout.
James Capell-Abra, Lead Mental Health First Aid Instructor at Stress Matter UK.
1. If you’re able, have multiple areas where you can move around and work
“I like to split my day up into 90-minute sessions of deep work and move to a different spot in the house after each one; with a short break in-between for a stretch, coffee or a quick cuddle with my dog. Mixing up the day by working in the garden, standing up at the breakfast bar, sitting at the desk or reviewing documents from my favourite armchair keeps the day interesting and me energised.”
2. Journalling can help you stay focused when working from home
“There are so many distractions when working from home, so journalling my intention in the morning really helps me to stay on track and remind myself of the important things I need to get done that day. Then when I feel easily distracted by the TV, or some housework that needs doing, I’m reminded of the intentions I made at the start of the day.”
3. Change scenery and environment from time to time
“As an extrovert, I get my energy from being around other people – so when I feel it start to dwindle, I take myself away to a coffee house or a co-working space to get that busyness vibe. It re-energises me and is also a great way to get a change of scenery.”
4. Create clear boundaries
“If you work flexi hours, make sure that personal activities are in your diary for others to see, so that they don’t get interrupted by a Zoom call that could have waited. My team knows to never put anything in my diary when I’ve got my lunchtime walk or my Monday morning run planned.”
Charlotte McHale, Clarins Training Manager
5. Try beauty snacking to give your skin and well-being a boost
“In this heatwave my RE-FRESH Hydrating Beauty Mist, £18 has been a godsend! It feels lovely and cool and is instantly hydrating. It works brilliantly over make-up too without disturbing it.
Also, keep a hand cream by your desk and apply regularly, especially if you’re handling paperwork. If you’re not wearing makeup, a lunchtime SOS Hydra Refreshing Hydration Mask, £31 is a lovely way to balance, hydrate or comfort the skin in just 10 minutes.”
Read more about Beauty Snacking: Feel-Good Fixes To Beat Midday Blues
UK-based Mentor and Coach Paula Sheridan, founder of Unwrapping Potential
6. Structure is key
“What works for me may not be right for you. But there are some areas that are consistent for us all. As humans, we all need some structure and ritual to understand where we are in life. Keeping a regular routine of starting and finishing work and the same sequence of actions when you finish work can keep work and life separate.
Your commute used to serve that function. You don’t have that now. So, for example, shutting down the computer and then moving to a different room can signal to your brain ‘we are done now’. Creating that boundary between work and life is critical not only for our well-being but also our relationships and families.”
Working from home hacks
“Whilst working from home is wonderful in many ways, it brings its own issues. For some, isolation can be very hard. For others, the ‘cabin fever’ can be draining and the monotony and predictability of each day can be difficult. Whatever, the issue is for you, there are ways to stay motivated. It’s a question of finding what is right for you,” notes Sheridan. Adding, “It comes down to a theory by Eric Berne, that we all have six hungers that need to be met to thrive in life.”
Stimulus – learning something, seeing new things
Contact – this can be physical but can also be mental
Recognition – being valued and rewarded
Passion – something that lights us up
Structure – we all need some structure
Incident – best described as ‘why people turn to look at a road accident’ a sort of ‘ooh what’s that, that’s different!’ thing.
“Now we each need different amounts of each hunger to be fed. And too much of one is as bad as too little. So, your motivation will come from looking at where you feel starved and filling that gap. Find ways to put more structure in.
If you are easily distracted, then offering yourself ‘rewards’ for doing dull tasks can be effective. If you are lacking contact, be available to connect with your colleagues on a personal level. Or to have at least one ‘human’ conversation a day. If you are lacking passion, then find a hobby to fill in those dull times. But if you are lacking stimulus, then it’s time to talk to your manager about how your job can be expanded,” Sheridan points out.
Working from home tips for success: Dos and don’ts of working from home
Sheridan lists down dos and don’ts for people working from home. (Bookmark this for future reference)
- Plan out your week or days, so you can stand up, go outside, and look at something other than a screen at some point in the day.
- Do build in opportunities for human connection to feed your contact hunger.
- If possible, have a space that is only for work. Easier said than done. If that is not possible, then ensure that at the end of the day, you put away the computer and work materials out of sight. Create a ritual that signals to your brain ‘Work is finished today’.
- Assume that work from home means always available, so ensure those boundaries are reinforced with your manager. Just because it is all in one room, doesn’t mean you are always available.
- Don’t have your alerts and notifications for work on your phone when you have finished working. It’s too tempting to respond to them.
- Don’t let the day slide by into evening without a checklist of ‘healthy’ habits that work for you, whether that is a walk, making a proper lunch and sitting down to eat, workouts, reading a book, having a personal and human conversation with someone that isn’t about work.
- Don’t take on all the household duties if you work from home and your partner doesn’t. Just because you are in the house, it doesn’t make it ok for you to do it all. Do some if it is convenient if it is a welcome break, but not if it adds to your stress and overwhelms you.
Looking to read more mental health articles? Read 9 Strategies To Manage Stress And Build Resilience or 10 Tips For A Better Work-Life Balance.