By now, we've become so used to phrases like 'new normal' to describe life since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, you may find that one of those 'new norms' is that your morning commute now consists of waking up and reaching for your laptop.
Even if a vaccine for the coronavirus was available next week, many of us wouldn't go back to working in an office the way we did before. For those who loved their work life, it can be difficult to adjust to working remotely. So how can we get used to the idea of working from home indefinitely?
Staying Productive and Organized
Remaining organized and productive without the office environment is a large adjustment, but there are practical changes that you can introduce to make that transition a little easier. After all, you've been gifted extra time that would otherwise have been spent getting ready for, and commuting to and from your job.
You might use that free time to catch up on more sleep, exercise, or even start a new hobby. You’ll also have more time for things you’d normally procrastinate on- like meal prepping. Maybe that slow cooker you’ve been neglecting is ready to make weekly chili that will make your house smell all warm and cozy this winter. The most important thing is that you continue to keep a routine. It won't look like the one you had before, but it's still important to have a schedule that keeps you focused- your mental health relies on it!
Here are some tips to keep you successful in your new remote working life, while adhering to your mental health as much as possible.
Get Out of Bed!
It can be all too easy to work through emails and tasks without leaving the comfort of your bed, but both psychologists and physical health doctors insist that getting up will prepare your mind and body for the working day. It helps to take a shower and get dressed- even if you don't have a zoom meeting to attend that day.
Separate Work and Life Activities
Don't do anything at home that you wouldn't do at the office. Resist the urge to watch TV, browse social media, or even tackle the house chores during your working day. Arrive at the same time every morning, take regular breaks, turn off the lights, and power down the computer just as you would if you were leaving your office. Even taking it as far as closing the door and refusing to enter until the following morning will help you create boundaries.
Going into an office was a motivator for us all to get our “steps” in an attempt to live a healthier lifestyle, so don’t let working from home deprive you of that! There are ways to keep your health in check while working from home:
- Invest in a stand-up desk or stand up desk converter. These can get pricey, so make sure to check your local thrift stores or online marketplaces for better deals while following CDC guidelines.
- Stretch & Move! You no longer need to feel awkward having your officemates watch you stretch during the day. If you don’t have a smartwatch to remind you, set an hourly timer to stretch and move around. The health benefits of this are never-ending!
- Get a balance board for your standing desk so that you’re not always standing in one place- and it helps build a strong core!
- Kick regular office chairs goodbye, get an exercise ball instead.
- Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water all day to ensure you don’t get muscle cramps or headaches.
- Got pets? Take advantage of your work breaks and take them on walks. This will benefit both you and your fur babies.
There are plenty of other small ways to incorporate being healthy while working from home, but the main goal is to not stay sedentary.
Work From Home Doesn’t Mean ‘Always Working’
Some of us are working even longer hours now that we don't commute to and from the office. While it's great that we're focused when working from home, we need to remember it's important to stop working at the end of the day and resume a healthy home and family life, too.
Create a Dedicated Office Space at Home
Remote working creates both rewards and challenges, a big challenge being that it's hard to separate work and home life. It really helps to create a work from home space that is only used as your office.
It can be tempting to use the dining room table, the sofa, or even your bed as a workspace, and in some cases, there are no other viable options. But if you have space, it's essential to take the time to create an office space at home.
Moving Your Office Furniture to Your Home Office
The practicalities of moving your workspace from the office to your home could be as stressful as moving to a new house! Particularly if you had an office full of heavy furniture and equipment, all of which are necessary for you to succeed working from home, but now you don't have space for it.
It's not always possible to get moving help from family and friends, especially now with social distancing legislation. This is when it's a great idea to hire moving labor help, an affordable moving option that will also save you from moving your own office furniture. It's as simple as renting a truck for the day, then hiring local movers to take care of the heavy lifting for you. They'll meet you at your locations to safely load and unload your items, and even help with rearranging your home office!
When Your Home Office Is Too Small
Even with those pro moving helpers taking the stress out of your move, you might find that your new remote workspace won't hold everything that used to fit in your office.
Don't worry! Check out local storage facilities. It can cost next to nothing to rent a storage unit for your belongings. You can even utilize the moving helpers to load and unload your items between the storage facility and your new home office.
If a storage facility isn't an option for you, Covid-19 has given us plenty of time to do those spring-cleaning decluttering tasks that we just weren't able to fit into our schedule before. Before throwing things out consider donating or selling items- one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, am I right?
Reinventing the Workplace
Studies have shown that companies are having to rethink their entire way of working. Companies like Twitter even announced early on in the pandemic that they realized nobody needs to commute to the office ever again, and that all employees will be given the option to work from home from now on.
Even if your boss isn't quite so accommodating, there's no doubt that the future of commuting to an office is changing. This year has proven that perhaps there's no real need to travel to work if you can save time and money, and reduce your carbon footprint by working from home.
In the early days of the pandemic, we might have enjoyed the extra time under the duvet and the freedom to not have to shower- or even put on underwear- in order to start the working day. But as time has passed, for many, the novelty has worn off. Many of us are really missing the structure of leaving the house for work and struggling to have to rely on themselves for said structure.
We hope this advice on what's helped us be successful during these trying times is helpful to you. Everyone’s 'new normal' won’t be the same- just make sure that you create one that works for you!