Some useful tips for remote working as we return to lockdown
Remote working may sound like a dream for some, but for others it can have a detrimental effect on their mental health. The work/life balance can become even more obscured when working from home as we find our work life invading our private spaces. It is well recognised that the mental health of all individuals in this moment of time is at risk of facing some incredibly difficult challenges, particularly as the resources in Ireland are quite limited.
With that in mind, as we head back into a second lockdown it is incredibly important that we look after our own mental health. Here are some useful tips to protect your mental health by maintaining a work/life balance and making the most out of working from home.
Get changed in the morning
You don’t have to put on your work clothes, but by changing into another outfit from the one you slept in can help distinguish remote working from having a lazy day. Even on the days that you are most demotivated, changing into an outfit that you would feel comfortable wearing during the day or in public can help create an illusion of sociability, which is exactly what we are lacking in most right now, and a major contributor to spiraling mental health.
Create a permanent workplace environment
A lot of people may find remote working particularly challenging if they do not have the space to do so. Some people may find themselves working from their bed which can also lead to physical problems let alone mental health issues. Creating a permanent workplace environment in your home which can ultimately be reverted to its original state can help with the work/life balance we all so desperately want.
If you are working from your bed, try to make it less welcoming but not uncomfortable. Remove the duvet and use the pillows to create a chair. Even just the illusion of separation is important, because in life we must fake it til we make it. If you can work in another room, then do. Aim to have natural lighting if at all possible as natural light has many health benefits we should all take advantage of before going back into the office.
Working in an office doesn’t exactly provide you with a good environment to have a stretch, but fortunately, remote working can help with that. Although working in an office has many advantages, it also has a lot of disadvantages, way too many to get into right now. One of these disadvantages is the impact of sitting in a chair for the majority of the working day.
Our bodies weren’t designed to sit down all day, which futurist William Higham suggests with his prototype of future office worker, Emma. Being active is hard in modern life, particularly for those in office jobs. However, remote working gives us an opportunity to treat our bodies with some well-deserved stretches, which will consequently have a positive effect on our minds.
Stretch as often as possible when remote working, you may not have this opportunity again!
Have something playing in the background
Whether it’s the television, radio or your phone, make sure you have some background noise. There’s no doubt that remote working can be very isolating, but having background noise can be quite comforting. Aside from call centres, offices generally aren’t loud environments, but they aren’t in complete silence throughout the working day.
So by having some audio in the background throughout the working day can provide some comfort to the isolation of remote working.
When you are finished, you are finished. Remote working does not mean that you should do anymore than you normally do. Of course, if your job is demanding and it is necessary for you to give some extra hours from time to time on a normal working day, then go for it. If your work doesn’t require extra work, then stop as you normally would.
This is fundamental for remote working. Maintaining working hours and keeping a routine holds utmost importance as it is known to have many positive effects on mental health. A lot of people have had their entire routines distorted due to Covid, whether they are frontline, retail, hospitality or office workers, nobody is safe. Keeping a steady routine, as challenging as it may seem, is something that will help keep the consistency of a work/life balance.
Remote working will have its challenges, but if done right, it could be a great opportunity to work at your most productive level. As more and more attention is focused on mental health from the media to the government, the most important part of remote working is to remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. So take care and look after yourself!
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