With COVID-19 lockdowns shifting in an ever-changing work landscape, more and more companies are setting hybrid working arrangements in place for employee wellbeing.
As we manage the risk and disruption posed by COVID-19, it’s essential to limit potential exposure to the virus and its direct impacts on the health, safety and wellbeing of employees. In practice, this means many of us must primarily work from home.
Working from home can be great. There’s a solid range of advantages – you’ll have more flexibility, a much shorter commute, and probably a cheeky extra hour’s sleep in the mornings. However, it also means you will need to set a regular, fixed schedule for yourself, something that can feel overwhelming at times. With this in mind, it’s essential to create the best possible work-from-home environment and routines.
A number of guides have been developed to help ensure your personal health, safety and wellbeing whilst working remotely and can continue to get the most benefit and productivity from your working days. Here’s a few simple steps to help you build a routine when working from home has become the new normal:
- Create your dedicated workspace
Similar to what your office was, this will be your designated space for all things work-related, and that mental association will help you create a strong work-from-home foundation. Create a dedicated space for work in your home, whether it’s your kitchen table, a coffee shop, a desk in the study, or even in your back yard. If you are working in an area that has multiple functions throughout the day, set definite boundaries for what time it’s being used for what purpose. This can help you mentally wind down from the work day, and create a clear signal to your brain that it’s time to relax now.
- Set a schedule and stick to it
When you’re working from home, it’s super important to have a set schedule in place throughout the day. This helps you foster a sense of consistency that can boost productivity and focus. If your normal work hours are 9 to 5, then you can mirror that schedule from home. Sticking to a set daily schedule will help motivate you to jumpstart your work and smash through your task load.
- Make time to exercise daily
When we’re working from home, we spend most of the day in a stationary position. Since we don’t have the usual commute to the office, walking around between the kitchen space or to and from meetings, it’s easy to forget the important of keeping physical momentum going. Whether it’s an early morning jog, an afternoon yoga session, or a post-dinner walk, try to work in at least 30 minutes of exercise every work day. One of the perks of working from home is more flexibility in your schedule, so if you find space in the day with no calls or pressing projects, you can use it to your advantage and fit in a quick workout.
- Spend time outdoors
Since working from home and hybrid working are rapidly becoming the new normal, we’re spending more time indoors, in air conditioning and without much daily movement. If restrictions allow, it’s important to remember to leave your home now and then to reset your energy levels. Not only is fresh air and sunlight incredibly beneficial for you, but the change of scenery will also refresh and revitalize you, boosting your motivation and productivity when you return to your desk. Take a walk, read a book in the park and take the time to give yourself a breather!
- Dress for work, not for home
As tempting as it is to work in our pyjamas all day, putting on work clothes can help get you in the right mindset to tackle your professional to-do list, so you should stick to your normal getting-ready routine each morning. Take the time to shower, brush your teeth and hair, and put on clothes you’d wear to work. You’ll feel more ready to jump into work projects than you would if you were still wearing the clothes you slept in. If you have a day full of video calls ahead of you, it also helps to make sure whatever can be seen on camera looks professional and appropriate!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied on as such. Before making any commitment of a legal or financial nature you should seek advice from a qualified and registered Australian legal practitioner or financial or investment advisor.