The last two years have not only been an incredibly difficult time for us all, they have also been transformative within the way in which we all work, with many people still finding themselves working from home. From those seasoned with working from home, to those who have just embarked on this new and strange way of working, it has affected everyone in positive and not-so-positive ways. 

Striking a work-life balance is hard at the best of times, but when you merge your work-life with your home-space, it’s a whole different story. Without creating that strong divide between the two, it’s easy to blur work and personal life and find yourself burned out quickly, alongside the social isolation of working from home and not feeling connected to your work colleagues. 

Here are the main problems we hear from people who are working from home: 

  1. “Working from home makes us feel isolated and not part of the team.” 
  2. “There is no work-life balance.”
  3. “I overwork at home due to feeling guilty and as though I am not performing similarly to how I would perform at work.”

Those three obstacles are common. Even to the most versed in homeworking, it takes a lot of discipline and planning to overcome those obstacles.

Here are our top tips to combatting those obstacles and to work from home with your mental and physical wellbeing at the forefront:  

  • If you are part of a team, we suggest using technology to maintain contact with your colleagues. This could be utilising MS Teams for text chats and video conferencing, Slack, Zoom, Skype. Keep in touch with each other. You are still a team despite the physical distance. 
  • Organise more frequent meetings via video conferencing but keep the length of those meetings shorter.
  • Have a dedicated space in your home for home working. Do not deviate from this space. Setting up that work space ensures that your entire home doesn’t become “the office”.
  • Keep your work schedule similar to the schedule you’d use at work. Include your coffee breaks and lunch breaks.
  • Step back from your computer during your breaks. I know many may work through lunch by eating at their desk… don’t. Creating that boundary is important.
  • Speak to your family or housemates about working from home and set boundaries with them. Tell them how they can support you.
  • At the beginning of each work day, set yourself a few tasks that you need to complete by the end of the day. Make sure it’s in line with what you would complete if you were at the office. This will help reduce the risk of overworking at home.
  • Get dressed for work if you need that extra mindset of “I’m working”.
  • Your home working day ends when your usual working day would end at the office. 
  • For tasks that require a high level of focus, turn off your phone. 
  • Stay away from your personal social media during working hours. Check in with social networks during break times only. 
  • Remove distractions from your workspace as best you can.
  • Implement a rewards system with yourself. Every time you achieve something, have a cuppa.
  • If you play music, try to play music without words. Spotify has a multitude of ‘focus’ playlists that are ideal to help concentrate.
  • Unless it’s lunchtime, don’t turn on the TV. As well as being a distraction, it’s one step closer to you delving into a box set and putting off what you can do today until tomorrow.

And finally… 

PoetsIN have a range of resources available for free. They’re easy to download and will help with grounding, mindfulness, self-care, self-soothing and more. It is time we invest in our mental wellbeing just as much as we invest in performing well at work. Visit: poetsin.com/resources to get your copies. 

Author: Sammie Adams, PoetsIN. 

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