Listen, I’m the first to admit it. Work clothes went out the window a long time ago. Sure, if I have a client meeting or an important internal get together, a nice top may make its way on screen. But, let’s face it – most of us are in our comfies and have been since last March.
Or perhaps, working from home has had the opposite effect. Despite a lack of commute on those cold, dark mornings, you’ve found your stress levels have doubled as you try to recreate the boundary between work and home life.
At present, we have a blurred line between remote working and working from home which may be damaging for us in the long term without careful consideration and adjustment. Remote working is founded on choice, where you choose to work could be in your home, a café or off somewhere exotic in a rental. The working from home set up that a lot of us were thrust into last year, is makeshift for many of us and was not through choice.
However you’re coping, there are some choice healthy habits you can implement to ensure you remain resilient, productive and healthy whilst working from home and some etiquette no no’s to make sure you stay on the right side of all things professional. Here are some of the most obvious “do’s and don’ts”.
- Take regular breaks – try the Pomodoro method if you haven’t done so already – it suggests you work in 25 min blocks with a 5 min break for maximum productivity.
- Try walking meetings – getting out with exposure to daylight will help to regulate your body clock, help get your daily steps up and mean you are energised for the meeting itself.
- Have a clear and consistent start and finish to your day. Missing the daily commute? Give yourself a fake commute - set aside some fixed time to do those things you normally enjoy during your commuting time: catching the daily headlines, get a few pages of your latest read in or get yourself set up for the day with a blast of some feel good tunes or your podcast.
- Make sure you have applied for tax relied on your WFH expenses – check out HMRC’s website here to begin your application and speak to your companies’ support team if you are uncertain if this applies to you.
- Ask for all the necessary equipment you need to be able to fulfil the duties and responsibilities of your role.
- Ask for support if you are mentally feeling the strain of this significant change to our work life, help is available direct from your employer and specialist organisations.
- Keep your colleagues and boss well informed of your progress and daily focus whilst raising attention to problems or set back early so that everyone has enough time to respond in a manner that minimises stress for everyone.
- Leave gaps between Zoom calls – you will be more focused and energised if you are able to step away from your screen for even a couple of minutes between calls.
- Dare to reimagine things – a lot has changed for all of us in the past 11 months – consider your professional growth which has come out of these challenges and embrace the lessons for future advance.
- Aim to keep clear boundaries between where you work and where you don’t so that you can step away from work in a healthy way when working hours are done.
- Try to work in an area of your home that provides natural light – it will help decrease eye strain, headaches and lethargy.
- Personalise and customise your workspace – consider some greenery to help you fell at peace with some indoor plants and pay attention to the colours around you. Different colours are known to promote different types of working, for example, blues can promote creativity and red attention to detail.
- Consider when you are most productive during your day whilst WFH and lean into it to keep smashing it whilst WFH. This might be different to what was your most productive hours in the office. Get clued in to when you at your peak performance and reap the benefits of designing your day and WFH routine around this.
- Forget to drink lots of water and take regular snacks – it’s easier to work through lunch when you don’t have the usual office cues to let you know it’s hit lunchtime.
- Make sure the space you are working in is ventilated and appealing for you to work in. There is nothing worse than trying to be at your best when you are in uncomfortable or impractical surroundings.
- Don’t let WFH burn out creep up on you – we are all combatting zoom fatigue, extra commitments and additional stresses in our personal lives so it is important to keep checking in with ourselves and utilising time off when we need it.
- Don’t forget to check in with colleagues – setting aside 5 mins to check in with a colleague you haven’t connected with in a while or who you sense might be under pressure can literally flip someone’s day or week for the better, including your own.
- Don’t forget about GDPR, professional standards, regulations and compliance remain the same so make sure you are doing everything that would be expected of you in the office.
- Don’t allow your workspace to get cluttered, get organised in a way that works for you in your current workspace and above all, stay consistent, otherwise you will end up back at square one.
- Sit for too long – consider talking a call whilst you walk around your house or working whilst standing up – it may also improve concentration.
- Don’t forget professional etiquette and manners. Despite the fact we can sit in the comfort of our own homes, don’t let a sense of a relaxed attitude creep into your professional behaviour and presentation.
- Pay attention to your background. Regularly check your camera view so that you can keep up a professional appearance and you don’t have anything embarrassing make its way into the background of your next Zoom 1-2-1 with your boss.
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