The Covid-19 pandemic carried out some major fundamental changes in our working lives. Today, employees around the world are working from home on an unprecedented scale. Whilst this has been a largely popular change for many workers, it has carried many challenges too.
Prior to 2020, our homes were largely associated with rest and relaxation, and rarely drew connotations relating to productivity and hard work. Now, as more of our offices turn remote, we must consider how to stay motivated in locations that are full of distractions.
As the data above shows, the work from home (WFH) boom has fundamentally changed how workers collaborate and communicate, their work hours, how work is conducted, and how they juggle their responsibilities.
It can be difficult to remain motivated in such an isolated environment, but there are a number of ways in which you can continue to thrive outside of the office – and, more importantly, remain happy whilst working alone.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the best approaches to WFH life, and how they can help you to stay motivated at work:
Make Sure Everyone In Your Space Knows How You Work
Sometimes you can feel isolated at work, even in a busy home. Whether you’re working amongst family or in a flatshare, it’s important that those around you know some ground rules in how you like to work.
Be sure to advise your loved ones or housemates on your working hours, and what can help you to remain productive throughout the working day. Whether you’re intent on telling them that you would rather they didn’t enter your office space between 2 pm and 5:30 pm, or that they should let you know if they’re looking to use your printer, it’s always best to share your intentions with those around you early on.
Maintaining Structure Can Be Essential
Routine and structure are essential in creating a healthy working environment, and this is perhaps more essential than ever when seeking to stay motivated whilst working from home.
“Research shows that keeping routines, but with some variation – having different exercises and tasks at different times – is really important,” notes Jo Daniels, a clinical psychologist at the University of Bath.
Sleep can play a significant role in establishing and maintaining routines. Try to avoid hitting the snooze button. Just because there’s no commute to wake up for and deadlines that can be put off until tomorrow, sleeping in can impact cognitive function.
One of the healthiest approaches to utilising your newfound free time at home is to channel it into a positive new routine – such as cooking healthy lunches or going for a run each day.
It’s also possible to create your own list of priorities in a weekly to-do list, helping you to keep on top of your work in a more regimented manner.
Always Value Breaks
With working from home has come a significant level of flexibility and fluidity to how we work. We’re now the masters of our own deadlines, without established break times and clocking-in periods.
Whilst some remote workers have identified this as an opportunity to work solidly for long periods of time – favouring to either get their tasks done in one flurry of productivity or rushing to get things done later in the day, this can actually impede your ability to work.
Make sure you set yourself up with structured break times, or alternatively, reward yourself for reaching milestones in your work by taking a break. Although the prospect of staying at your computer and watching YouTube for 15 minutes may seem relaxing, it can be far more useful to leave your desk. Going for a walk or talking to others in the house may be far better for your well-being than staying sat in the same spot throughout your breaks.
Staying Connected Is Vital
Whilst working from home certainly has its benefits, it can also cause workers to feel more isolated. Despite this, there are many ways that employees can keep in touch with the people around them as a way of keeping mentally healthy.
Both inside and outside of work, human interaction is essential in keeping us happy. With this in mind, it can be highly beneficial to make video calls and talk on the phone rather than relying on instant messaging or emailing. Most businesses will have some form of program in place for employees struggling with isolation, and if you feel as though your mood is being affected by WFH, it can be important to talk to someone.
Making time to socialise virtually can work wonders for remote workers. It may even be worth comparing the market for competitively priced smartphones that support the kind of data allowances that enables regular video calls with colleagues and loved ones – should they be a part of your business structure.
Embrace The Great Outdoors
One of the best ways to stay motivated whilst working from home is to remember that nothing is stopping us from changing our surroundings once in a while.
Whether you opt to schedule regular walks or lunch dates with friends or choose to visit a park or coffee shop to get your deadlines done, a change of scenery can be extremely beneficial for your wellbeing.
It’s even possible to plan a working holiday somewhere completely different to change your environment completely and without booking some of your holiday dates.
Fundamentally, WFH is popular because of the greater levels of comfort users can enjoy. Whilst it can be a lonely experience, we have the tools available to us to balance our working lives with either remote or in-person socialising to create a strong and healthy balance.
Always remember that if life outside of the office becomes too stressful, never suffer in silence. Get in touch with your employer’s HR department to share your concerns. However, with the right combination of work and play, there’s every chance that you can create a happy and productive remote working environment.