7 min read
This story originally appeared in the World Economic Forum
By Kate Whiting
- More than two-thirds of economic activity in the United States in May was produced by people who worked from home.
- Here are eight ways to make working from home more effective without compromising your mental wellbeing.
Working from home every day may have felt like a novelty six months ago, but for many of us we’re now in the long run.
Tech companies from Microsoft to Fujitsu offer employees the opportunity to work from home permanently.
In May, 42% of Americans aged 20 to 64 who earned more than $ 20,000 worked full-time from home, equivalent to more than two-thirds of the United States economic activity, according to a survey by Stanford University. United States. This is comparable to the 2% who worked from home full-time prior to the pandemic.
Working from home in the USA now accounts for two thirds of their economic activity / Image: SIEPR
While offices around the world have reopened with COVID security measures, we are expected to continue working from home in some ways until 2022, according to Stanford Professor Nicholas Bloom.
That is, once the novelty wears off, we need healthy habits to ensure we are focused and productive during work hours – to avoid the “temptation” to pack another load of laundry – and we can switch off at the end of the day.
Even Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella admits that the lines between our personal and work lives have become so blurred that “it sometimes feels like you’re sleeping at work.”
The UK National Health Service has advice on working from home and time management as part of its Every Mind Matters mental health service.
1. Establish a routine and stick to it
Sticking to a routine enables Structure / Image: NHS
Crossing the line between work and personal time can be stressful, so schedules are a must. Get up and have breakfast at the same time each day, and stick to an alternate “commute” time to exercise, read, or listen to music before going to work. “The most important thing is that you stop working when your work day ends,” says the National Health Service. “Shut up, stop reading email and focus on home life.”
2. Create a dedicated workspace
If you haven’t already, maybe because the kids left school, now is the time to find a quiet space away from other people and distractions. Try to set one area as your work area, make it as comfortable as possible – read the tips on how to sit properly at your desk – and make sure you have everything you need in one place.
3. Take a break
Taking a break is important / Image: NHS
It can feel like we have to be “on” all the time – and now available to colleagues as they cannot see us in person. But as the NHS says, this home-based presenterism is not good if it is affecting your sanity. So, take regular test breaks and a lunch break to control your stress. Taking the time to focus on something else, be it a walk or a coffee, will increase your productivity. If you feel tense and stiff from moving less, try a 10-minute exercise.
4. Stay connected
While working from home has its advantages, “it can also make you feel more isolated,” says the National Health Service. Human interaction is important to our mental wellbeing. So make video calls or pick up the phone. Talk to your co-workers or your boss if you have problems and ask others how they are. “Take the time to network virtually: schedule a Friday digital coffee break or online meeting. Or, meet in person for coffee or lunch if you can, and follow the latest social distancing guidelines.”
5. Set limits
“Setting boundaries with other members of your household is key to mental well-being at home,” says the NHS. Yes, there is more flexibility, but you may also have to deal with children who believe you are there for them. Talk to your family or those living about your needs and share your schedule. Do the same with your co-workers and directors so that at the end of the day you can be with your family, partner, or roommates.
6. Check the time management
The qualified occupational psychologist Emma Donaldson-Feilder shared her tips for better time management so that you feel more controlled, more concentrated and less stressed. Suggest that you set goals and write to-do lists, prioritize and set deadlines for tasks. And practicing the “4Ds” can help you cope with the stress of email:
- Delete: This applies to around half of the emails you receive.
- Do: when it’s urgent or can be completed quickly.
- Delegate: When someone else can handle it better.
- Snooze: Take some time later for emails that take longer to process.
7. Think long term
We may work from home for some time. It is therefore worth exploring different programs and ways of working to encourage collaboration with others and reflecting on attitudes towards working at home.
8. Be nice to yourself
Working from home can be stressful, keep in mind it isn’t always easy / Image: NHS
Remember, this is an unusual situation. So be careful with yourself and realize that you may not be as productive as you normally would. Be realistic about what you will achieve in the circumstances can – and relax when you have finished your work. “