We are all entering a very scary and unfamiliar time, with lots of people now working from home where possible. We know this is quite daunting for a lot of people who might already have a lot of anxiety and stress about the current situation.
As the Co-Founder of Coconut Lane, working from home is a familiar position to be in. When my business partner and I started CL, we worked from home for 3 years before getting our first office. In light of the current situation, we are now back to working from home and whilst it offers huge positives, like a break from commuting and some much needed "me" time - it can be lonely. I have had many days working from home where I have found myself in an unproductive slump - unsure what to focus on next and lacking motivation.
The idea of working from home is an appealing one until you're told you have to do it for weeks... possibly even months! For those who are worried about this big lifestyle change then we have some tips to help you stay positive, motivated and productive.
1. Get showered and dressed for the day! Sitting in bed working in your PJs might feel like the Insta dream but the reality is that it's bad for productivity and your posture. Our bedrooms offer us some much needed "zen" time and act as a safe space where we can go to relax and sleep at the end of the day. Mixing work and stress with this space can also have a knock on effect and cause you to sleep less well as the boundaries of work and relaxation become blurred. So gals, try to get out of bed (as hard as it is), get showered and move to a different room to start your work. You will feel a lot more focused and productive.
2. Set up a comfortable work station. Try to set up a mini office in your house which you can treat as your designated work area. Then, make sure you are comfortable. Whether it be a desk, suitable chair at the right height, keyboard or screen - make sure you have everything you need to be working comfortably. A proper set up will mean a happier work environment which you will enjoy working in. If you chat to your employer, they might offer to buy you what you need to make sure you are productive and comfortable whilst working from home.
3. Take regular breaks - don't be afraid to get up and make a tea or watch some TV! Working from home can leave you feeling on edge and worrying that you are doing enough work. You might find yourself worrying that your boss thinks you're skiving off just because you didn't see their email for half an hour, or perhaps you missed an important call because you went to the toilet! We're here to reassure you that these things happen to everyone working from home and making tea, doing some washing, taking a lunch break is all OK. We are all human and we can't be sat at our screens 9-5 as we would all go insane. As long as you feel you are doing your normal work hours then be confident in taking breaks and try to worry less about what others might think.
4. Company - if you're working from home on your own (and you are able to work with background noise) then pop the radio on, listen to your favourite playlist or throw on some Netflix in the background. People often think that if you're "working" then you can't have the TV on because it's distracting, but the good news about working from home is you make up your own rules! I love popping on some Netflix programme in the background to keep me company.
5. Exercising - due to increasing restrictions on gyms and other fitness classes you might find yourself lacking in your usual exercise. There are lots of YouTube videos on home exercising so in your lunch break or first thing in the morning, do a little routine to release some endorphins and help yourself to feel good about yourself. Perhaps even try something new like yoga, meditation or an online dance class!
6. Fresh air is so important for productivity and more importantly, for your mental health. Whether it be popping out at lunch for a walk around the block or just opening a window for a short period of time per day, it is important to get out and get some fresh air. If only we all had dogs at home - this one would be an easy tick!
7. Chat to colleagues/ friends/ family - this is a really important one! If you are working from home then arranging a Skype or FaceTime call with your colleagues is a good way to reconnect with them and also remember that they are in the same situation as you. This will make you feel less alone and will also re-motivate you with work if you are feeling disconnected. Ringing your friends or family are also important so you can talk about how you are feeling and coping with the new set up.
8. Set yourself goals and beat them! Many of us are not used to self motivation but working from home means we have to be our own motivator. Write a TO-DO list of what you want to achieve each day and feel proud of yourself when you tick each one off.
I hope the above helps anyone who is feeling anxious about working from home for a prolonged period of time. It can be a daunting thing to think about, but try to see the opportunity in your new work set up to self motivate and rest, and to try new ways of working and discover new things about yourself. Stay positive and continue being kind.