This month many businesses across the UK have implemented remote working policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those of us who are used to office settings and minimal remote working, the change of environment can take some getting used to. Working from home is not as easy as it seems on the surface with many finding it difficult to stay focused and productive. Wellbeing and mental health can also suffer after long periods of ineffective remote working. Amy McManus is an international speaker, digital agency founder, CEO and recently crowned Role Model of the Year at the Digital Women awards. When founding her agency AM Marketing, she worked alone from her spare bedroom for two years, so she knows from experience how to work from home effectively and look after your wellbeing. She’s got a multitude of tips for those of us working from home over the next coming weeks.
“Remote working sounds great in theory, but it can be much more difficult when there aren’t others around you to help motivate and keep you on track. Distractions are easily found!”
1. Personal hygiene and PJs
When working from home there’s always the temptation to get up and head straight to the office in your PJs and not bother with much else. This may feel great for the first couple of days, but will have a negative effect on your wellbeing in the long-run. Make a conscious effort to get dressed and maintain the same personal hygiene standards you would for the office. A shower in the morning is also a great way to wake up and feel refreshed before starting work.
2. Take time away from the screen
This is a great tip for everyday, but can be much harder when away from the office. You sit down to work and before you know it the day has passed. Aim to take 15 minutes away from the screen every 2-3 hours as a minimum and get your body moving! Go for a short walk (if it’s safe to do so), do some stretches or walk up and down the stairs a few times. Anything where you’re no longer sitting and getting the bloody flowing. This will make you more productive and ensure your hours spent working are effective.
3. Eat breakfast (and lunch!)
When you’re working from home it’s even easier to forget to eat. Start your days with a healthy breakfast to set you on the right path. Foods such as bananas, fatty fish, nuts, eggs and porridge are great for slow energy release and stopping you snacking! When you’re working at home, the urge to snack is so much greater! You may also benefit from setting a lunch alarm. When your colleagues aren’t there to remind you, it’s all too easy to carry on working and forget to eat.
4. Keep track of your hours and projects
If you’re not used to remote working or don’t have any systems set-up, there are a number of programs you can use to help you. These include hour tracking software such as Harvest, project management software such as Monday.com, Basecamp and Asana, or communication platforms such as Slack. They may remote working a lot more streamlined, especially with several members of staff. Most aren’t free, but do have free trial periods.
5. Listen to classical music
Classical music, in particular baroque music, has been proven in several studies to improve concentration and learning efficiency. Classical music has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, boost productivity , and supercharge your brainpower. Exactly what you need for remote working.