10 Ways to stay productive and positive when working from home

6 Apr 2020

On March 23rd, the UK Government outlined strict new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, stating that people should only leave the house to work where it is “absolutely necessary”. To help protect the NHS and save lives, the majority of us are replacing our desktops with laptops, our offices with online platforms like Skype and Zoom. Before the coronavirus pandemic, remote working was already on the rise around the world. In fact, research tells us that more than two-thirds of us have done it. However, there’s a significant difference between working flexibly one or two days a week and spending all our working (and living) hours within the confines of our home.

two women sitting on a window sill chatting

Any full-time remote worker will tell you that working from home poses challenges at the best of times.

The physical and mental boundaries between work and life begin to blur when you work and live in the same place. It’s easy to feel distracted, and without the camaraderie of work buddies, it can be lonely at times. So to help you stay positive and productive, we’ve put together a list of 10 top tips to keep you on track.

If you’ve got other #wfh success tips, feel free to share them with us on Twitter and tag us @FundingOptions.

 1. Establish a daily routine

Although you’ve got nowhere to be in the outside world, set your alarm for the same time everyday. Get up, eat breakfast and get dressed for the day ahead. Staying in your pyjamas might be tempting at first, but it can squash productivity and wreak havoc with your work-life balance.

2. Maintain a balanced diet

The Prime Minister has stressed that we should only go shopping for "basic necessities" and as infrequently as possible, so make those biscuits last. In all seriousness though, aim to maintain a balanced diet to avoid feeling sluggish throughout the day. 

 3. Work and work out

If you don’t have access to a garden, exercising on “lockdown” can be tricky, but a number of fitness groups and instructors are coming up with inventive ways of making fitness accessible. For instance, HulaFit is offering online classes. All you need is a hoop and a room with enough space. 

Woman biting on yellow pencil looking at laptop

4. Sit at a desk properly

The NHS has published an article all about how to sit at your desk properly. Among other things, they recommend adjusting your chair height so you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor.

5. Schedule regular breaks

It’s easy to avoid breaks altogether when telecommuting, but it’s important to relax. Rather than catching up on that Netflix series, try get away from your desk. Go outside into the garden or for a short walk (but remember social distancing).

6. Utilise technology

Coronavirus has left many of us wondering: where on earth would we be without technology? Utilise technology to your advantage and also take the time to read up on the latest solutions relevant to your sector. Interestingly, the UK government has announced that it will issue £20 million in grants of up to £50,000 each to startups and other businesses that are developing tools to improve resilience for critical industries.

7. Chat with friends

It’s easy to see why video chat apps like Houseparty have gone viral. In the third week of March, it garnered 2 million downloads worldwide compared with 130,000 in the same week in Feb, according to App Annie data. 

Houseparty notifies you when your friends are using it and shows who’s talking to whom. Up to eight people are permitted in a group conversation at any one time. Having a different app for social and work conversations can help you separate work from life.

8. Be social savvy 

As with anything, try not to consume too much. With so much content proliferating online, it can be easy to get sidetracked and caught up in it all. If this happens, take a step back, log out and only check reputable news sources a few times a day. 

You can find advice for dealing with coronavirus anxiety in this video featuring Dr Luana Marques, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

9. Switch off 

Some people find themselves working into the night when working from home, but for the sake of your sanity, don’t do it. Have an activity that signals the end of the working day. This can be a form of exercise, reading, listening to the radio, a hobby...whatever suits.  

10. Sleep well

Sleep at the usual time. Using the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your phone, creating spaces dedicated to work and sleep and avoiding caffeine a few hours before bedtime can all help.

Zoe Cornish

Chief People & Operations Officer

Zoe Cornish is the Chief People & Operating Officer at Funding Options. Zoe has an extensive background in human resources and in developing and implementing people strategies within companies, covering employee engagement, performance management, organisational culture, coaching, as well as policies and practice. Prior to Funding Options, Zoe was the COO at Emerald group (acquired by Mind Tools).

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