We have all had to adjust to situations, and things we never imagined were possible this year with Coronavirus the culprit for many of these unforeseen changes.
Working from home has always been an option for many – particularly those with side hustles and working mum’s.
Recently though, due to Covid-19, working from home has become the ‘’norm’’ whilst being in the office more of a rarity. The narrative of remote working has flipped on its head.
Depression and mental health have increased dramatically since the emergence of the pandemic, and with the promise of a vaccine still far out in the distance – many may never return fully to the office making ‘working from home’ more of a permanent feature.
Here are some helpful tips on how you can stay happy and productive whilst working from home.
Surround yourself with plants.
Numerous benefits come with having house plants in your home.
According to horticulture experts, indoor plants can increase your mental and emotional wellbeing in ways that many people would never anticipate.
Below are just some of the ways in how houseplants help to create a more positive and enriching environment (particularly for those working remotely).
- You’ll have a better quality of air. Studies have shown that plants help to rid the air of any pollutants and toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde.
- Plants make a positive contribution to people’s emotional wellbeing.
- Looking after plants gives people a greater sense of achievement: watering plants and taking care of them increases feelings of accomplishment.
- The greenery and nature of plants help to encourage and promote healing.
- Having plants in the home or workspace can help people to de-stress.
Plants can also be a temporary distraction and help to divert our attention away from our screens for a while.
According to mental health experts – coming into contact with nature has a wide range of benefits for the body and mind. Exposing ourselves to the natural world can help with:
- Reducing anxiety and stress
- Reducing blood pressure
- Improving memory, attention and sleep
Dress for the job you have.
Ever heard the saying: Casual dress – informal mind? Well, this couldn’t apply any more to this principle.
It may seem like an attractive prospect to work from home in your pyjamas – perhaps you’ll get a longer lie in, after all, by not getting dressed, you cut your morning routine in half.
However, according to psychologists, those who dress as though they are heading into the office for the day, are more productive, and, by getting dressed up, their brains are more likely to be in work mode.
Researchers in experimental psychology coined the term ‘’enclothed cognition’’ which describes the different ways that people behave when wearing certain clothes.
In a study, those wearing lab coats, for example, were more likely to score higher for attention and memory than those who were not wearing lab coats.
Psychologists recommend that those working from home must dress as though they are going to the office, if they usually wear a suit for example, then this is how they should dress in the home office too.
Take care of your mental health.
Working from home comes with many rewards. However, it also has plenty of downsides – particularly on employee wellbeing and mental health.
According to a UN report – those working from home are more likely to experience higher levels of stress than those working in an office.
All this is because of the limitations that working from home can bring – such as:
- Email exchanges between colleagues get misinterpreted: mainly when the opportunity to talk face to face is no longer there.
- Job and skills training sessions are likely to be virtual. All this comes with limitations as it can be challenging to get the full learning experience as you would in person.
- The social aspect of being in the office disappears when working from home – this alone affects people’s mental health and levels of work satisfaction.
- It is possible to develop cabin fever by being at home all day.
The key to cultivating your mental health when working from home is to firstly, be aware of the challenges that come with working remotely, and then addressing them as and when they arise.
Almost like a mental health contingency plan – when we prepare ourselves for the rough patches that are likely to emerge during a pandemic, then we put ourselves in a much better position to resolve them.
You can do this by:
- Switching off the computer/laptop at a reasonable hour
- Ensuring you put enough time aside for exercise
- Listening to podcasts
- Going for a walk or a run before (and or after) work
- Keeping in touch with friends and family via Zoom and telephone
- Online counselling sessions where required
Someone once said that healthy boundaries are the promises we make to ourselves.
Cultivating healthy boundaries, mainly when working from home, can have a positive impact on our mental and emotional wellbeing.
Boundaries are simply a set of core principles that you stick to, to protect yourself against emotional and physical overwhelm. Your limitations might include:
- Switching off from work at 5 pm (and no later)
- Not answering messages and emails at a particular time – such as during breaks or after work
- Saying no to unreasonable workloads and demands
Stick to a daily routine and enjoy the time you have at home.
Ever since Coronavirus emerged, our lives have, in many ways, turned upside down.
Therefore, creating a structure or a daily schedule can help us to relinquish some control over our daily lives. What with Covid-19 rules and regulations constantly changing – it can be challenging at times to keep up.
However, if people stick to a daily routine when working from home, they will be less likely to develop anxiety and depression.
Some of the effective ways to cope during a pandemic whilst working from home include:
- Sticking to a regular exercise routine – this might include a morning run, a Youtube exercise of your choice or an evening walk after work.
- Staying connected to friends and colleagues: Zoom, Whatsapp messaging and a whole range of other social media platforms have been the go tos for most peoples’ social lives this year. Why not take advantage?!
- Keep a daily journal: This might include any work achievements and goals, through to writing down your feelings.
Getting everything down on paper is a great way to reflect on all the things you have achieved this year – chances are you have accomplished more than you think!
- Get enough sleep: Too much or too little sleep can have a significant impact on our overall well being.
There is plenty of research to prove that sticking to a regular sleep pattern improves our memory, attention span and overall happiness.
Researchers explain that oversleeping can impact our cognitive function just as much as sleep deprivation. So be sure to get enough zzz’s in every night!
Getting in touch
Are you struggling with the challenges of working from home? Then perhaps it’s time to get in touch with one of our specialists who can help.