For the Work From Home crowd — voluntarily or forced upon — we need to start thinking about our working environment.
Hands up if your laptop now sleeps under your bed ready for you to not even roll out of bed in the morning to grab it and start tapping?
I’m with you.
Sometimes I don’t get dressed until noon.
Sometimes I don’t get dressed at all.
But whilst it might seem like a treat at the time, doing this consistently is unfortunately not conducive to a healthy working day.
And with most of us spending more time than ever before working, it’s important to invest some time in making our working environments better for ourselves.
The environment we work in consists of quite a few things — our structural surroundings, people, and the atmosphere around us.
All are interlinked as I’m sure we’ve all been acutely aware of. Screaming children doesn’t usually surmount to a calm and peaceful working atmosphere…
But our ability to stay focused, productive, and most importantly happy, depends on how comfortable we feel in our working space. And that’s why, we’ve got to do everything we can to make this the best space possible.
So, how do we do that — especially when all the odds seem against us?
Create a dedicated workspace
Look, some days, we just want to work from bed — and that’s totally okay. On those days where I’m really struggling, I’m not going to give myself a hard time over it. I’m going to pull that duvet up tight, snuggle in, and get to work with Netflix on in the background.
But the rest of the time, we need to create a dedicated working area that is conducive to WFH in a productive way. Ideally, a room with a door that you can close. Failing that, a desk, or a table that is solely used for the purpose of work. Invest in a chair that gives you suitable back support. Make the space feel inviting with an indoor plant or some motivational quotes. Keep it clean, tidy, and organised. And if you’re in a busy household — invest in some high quality earphones.
Establish a routine
For weeks, I felt completely out of whack. I stopped setting my alarm, and got up when I felt like it. It was getting later and later each day, and some days I wasn’t eating breakfast or getting out of my pyjamas. Again, we all deserve a lazy day every once in a while, especially when we’re working so hard. But, we need to create a morning routine just like a normal working day.
Get out of bed, freshen up, and change into something that isn’t your PJs or your onesie — even it’s something smart on top and something comfy on the bottom. If you can, go outside for a short walk to mirror a work-like commute. Sit down for breakfast or a cup of coffee. Take a break for lunch. And then at the end of the day, do the same. Shut down your laptop, put it out of sight, and start to wind down.
Boundaries are everything
I could talk about boundaries until the cows come home. But I’ll keep it short and sweet. We all know this is a massive issue when we’re WFH, but yet we’re still struggling to maintain a good balance. The only way we can do this is by keeping a dedicated workspace, following a routine, and switching off at the end of the day.
Limit household distractions as far as you can during your dedicated work hours, but have some leeway. If you’re in a household with other people and/or children, share time slots and related chores. Equally, don’t carry work away from your desk and don’t interrupt family or social time after the end of your working day.
Ultimately, we need the firm boundary between our work and personal lives if we’re to maintain a happy standard of living — and that’s down to us.