According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2016 almost a third of all employed Australians regularly worked from home, and most people would work from home at some point in their career. Then this week, millions of people around Australia found themselves working from home as we entered state lockdowns - including all of us at Merry People HQ.
As we are discovering, working from home requires some adjustments to stay focused and productive. Here are some of the hacks we are using to create a new routine and foster healthy mental and physical habits.
1. USE AN ALARM CLOCK
Set your alarm clock to rise at the same time each day and follow the normal morning rituals that you would when you go to an outside office. We highly recommend using an actual alarm clock rather than your phone. When you use your phone, it becomes too easy to go straight into emails, news, and social media. So instead, keep your phone charging in another room and allow your mind and body the space and time to become present into the day.
2. MOVEMENT & EXERCISE
After you wake up (and ideally before you check your phone), get some movement. Take a walk around the block, do some yoga or pilates, or smash out an indoor cardio HIIT session.
#SupportLocal: With the current social distancing measures in place, all of our favourite gyms and fitness studios have been forced to close. Many of them have pivoted to offer online classes. If you can, please help support them and check out their online training. These will range from private to group training, and is a great way to stay physically and mentally fit and support your local community. Many of them are also hiring out equipment like Spin bikes and Pilates reformers.
3. GET DRESSED
As tempting as it is to wear your pyjamas all day, it will help to dress the part. After your exercise, take a shower, brush your hair, and put on work clothes. Shoes are optional, but we’ve been staying warm and merry in our boots as the weather drops in Melbourne.
4. CRAFT YOUR WORKSPACE
Dedicate a space within your house for work that is separate from your home life. If you can, set up a desk and invest in a comfortable chair. We also recommend adding some personal touches like you would in an office, such as family photos and a houseplant. If the sofa or kitchen table is your only choice for a workspace, still try to create a sense of ritual around the area and clear it of non-work clutter.
5. MINIMISE DISTRACTIONS
Resist the urge to do home chores like laundry and dishes; save those for before or after work. Consider silencing your phone and social media notifications and hiding TV remotes. If you find yourself working from home with children, try scheduling your work around their play and home-study schedule or, if your situation allows, wearing headphones.
6. TAKE BREAKS OUTSIDE
As we’ve talked about before, we believe that getting outside and connecting with nature is necessary for our happiness. When creating your routine, schedule in your breaks and use the time to get outside and feel the sun and smell fresh air. If the weather is bad, maybe just open a window or stand under cover for a few minutes. If you can, take a walk before you start, have lunch in your backyard, or grab a coffee from your local during the afternoon break.
7. STAY CONNECTED
Modern technology is amazing for allowing us to connect instantly with anyone, anywhere. When feelings of isolation or loneliness set in, remember that you are not alone. Schedule video calls with colleagues to discuss work rather than simply emailing, check in with loved ones, and grab takeaway lunch from your favourite local café. Use this time to invest in yourself and your goals.
8. SNACK WISELY & DRINK WATER
With non-stop access to the fridge, it is easy to snack excessively and throw healthy habits out the window. When you schedule your breaks for your day, also schedule your snacks and meals. If you can, keep your pantry and fridge full of healthy snacks and meal prep on the weekend or evenings, after work.
Drink water! Aim for 2L of water before 2pm (This is one of our fav rules for life).
#SupportLocal: Many small businesses are offering produce and pantry delivery. If you search online for “local produce delivery” or “veggie boxes delivered”, you may find a few for your area. This is a great way to practice social distancing and support local businesses and workers. Likewise, some of our favourite restaurants have adjusted their menus to provide more fridge-friendly meals and are offering home delivery.
9. END THE WORK DAY
Close your computer at the end of the work day! Shut down your “office” the same as you would when away from home. If you can, maybe go for another walk to simulate your commute and allow your mind to reconnect into its home space.
Hope this helps! Please remember, these are just ideas and ultimately, it is about finding what works for you. That may mean having breakfast at 10am, going for a run at 3pm, and then finishing up spreadsheets after dinner when kids are asleep. You get to write your schedule, making this a great time to listen to your body, your lifestyle needs, and honour your goals and intentions.