Working from home does have its advantages such as not having to commute to and from work, some timeout to catch up on tasks without the distraction of others and a more relaxed working environment overall. However, working from home for long periods can have its toll, including limited interaction with others and being unable to separate home life from working life.
Government’s Lockdown Rules
We don’t need to remind you about the latest the Government changes to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, supporting the NHS and the recent ‘lockdown’, but it is vital to stick to these simple rules –
- Stay at home (except for medical needs, providing care or to help a vulnerable person).
- Shopping for basic necessities but making these trips as infrequent as possible (food, medicines).
- One form of exercise a day (walk, run, cycle) either alone, or with the people you live with. The advice is no more than two people, i.e. you and your partner, with the exception of families.
- Maintain a social distance of two meters when leaving your home (supermarkets have introduced social distancing marks by the checkouts).
- Commuting to and from work, but only if necessary and it’s not feasible to work from home.
- Avoid all social gatherings.
- And of course, continue to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds.
Sticking to these rules can save lives and bring back some normality in the upcoming weeks.
PushON’s Tips for Working from Home
The team is currently working from home and readjusting to maintain a balanced work-home life, and they wanted to share their stories, tips and advice to maintain a healthy mind.
Exercise should still be part everyone’s lives, whether it’s doing a home workout or going out for your daily walk, run or cycle. With this in mind, our Head of Development, Chris, has set up a virtual running group through Strava – some friendly competition, but more importantly, supporting with mental health by clearing your mind, getting some fresh air and setting you up/ winding down for the day. If you would like to join PushON’s Running Club, follow the link here – https://www.strava.com/clubs/602171.
Sticking to the theme of exercising, our Senior Content Specialist, Elle, has swapped her regular morning gym workouts to home ones. While she can’t do her routine workout, she’s put together a plan using the weights she has available and other home-friendly exercises such as squats, lunges and donkey kicks. In addition, she’ll venture out for a local walk to get some fresh air and change of scenery (sticking to the Government’s guidelines of course). It’s important for her to stick to a regular routine as possible, which includes getting up at the normal time if she was going to the office, do her exercise plan and go for a walk on lunch.
If you have children, Joe Wicks’ morning PE lesson videos are becoming a huge hit for families.
With schools and nurseries temporarily closing, working from home with children can be challenging. You need to ensure the kids are entertained throughout the day and kept busy – or out of your way and ensure they’re not disrupting your day, particularly for calls. Easier than it sounds, right?
Our Office Manager Lisa has her workspace set up with the phone line fully installed, so she’s ready to crack on with the day as she usually would in the office, but with the exception of having an 18-month son at home and her husband who still has to go to work. Young infants need to maintain a routine, especially if they’re in nursery. In the mornings, Lisa gets things ready for him so he can paint, colour and play. Boris Johnson would be proud to see that we’re all trying to do our bit, even an 18-month year old is helping out, who, fortunately, has no idea what’s going on. Keep up the good work Albie George! Now the phone line is installed, you can ring our usual office number on 0161 820 7628.
Chris, our SEO Manager, has a toddler at home, and he’s provided some handy tips to help you manage your day-to-day activities.
- Toddlers tend to have unlimited energy, which needs to be used up before bedtime. If not, you’ll have a tough time getting them to sleep at their regular bedtime.
- Try to limit the amount of screen time, whether that’s on a tablet or watching TV – no more than a few episodes of their favourite pre-school program a day.
- Spring is officially here – if you have a garden let the little ones play in the garden – it’s a great way to burn off that excitable energy.
- Let them be creative, at nursery toddlers are used to getting mucky with paint. Encourage it at home too if you can. Just be prepared to clear up the mess afterwards.
Having children at home with you during this time is a fantastic way to get creative and teach them that there are other ways to entertain themselves other than watching TV or playing games on smart devices. Let children be children!
Creating a Calming Working from Home Space
We’re about three weeks into the lockdown and coming to grips with staying at home. When working from home, it’s important to create a calming environment and separate yourself from your home life, i.e. don’t work in bed!
There are different ways to create a calming working environment at home, such as leaving the TV off and opting for music to keep you motivated and less distracted. Ensure your workspace has everything you need from desktops to laptops to notepads, pens, phone and of course, your favourite mug for a brew. Ensuring you dress normally for the day helps too. If you dress smart for work, no one is expecting you to sit at home wearing a suit but avoid wearing pyjamas. Work outside of your bedroom, so it feels like you’re still going to work. Why not treat yourself to something new to have in your work from home space? This could be a house plant, a new writing pad, mug, diary or something fun to keep your spirits up.
And remember, take regular breaks. Take a full lunch as you would at work, go for a walk to get some fresh air and a change of scenery (just one walk remember with social distancing), and stretch your legs. When on lunch, switch your laptop off, as it’s easy to reply to a few messages or emails, and before you know it, you’ve ended up working through lunch.
It’s easier said than done, but if you separate yourself from your bedroom, get dressed and create a personal and dedicated working space, your temporary work from home life will be less stressful and more rewarding.
Limiting Social Media and News Headlines
One of the biggest temptations to working from home is checking social media. While social media is a fantastic way to stay in touch with friends and family during this challenging time, we advise limiting the time spent on it, so you don’t get overwhelmed with COVID-19 related posts. It can get too much, especially when you start reading the comments. Everyone has their opinion on the matter but try not to listen to others, just pay attention to the government updates.
Our Head of Digital Marketing, Alex, has removed various news pages from his social media accounts to avoid the current headlines, some of which are scaremongering, as well as the constant COVID-19 related posts. In essence, most of the stuff being shared isn’t factual. He has also temporarily disabled his Twitter account, but keeping Instagram, as it’s a friendly social media platform. It’s essential to stay up to date with COVID-19, as it affects everyone, but stick to Boris Johnson’s daily 5pm updates.
Ian Jenkins – Psychotherapist
While we all have our methods for working from home, they’re not suitable for everyone. So, it’s crucial to find out what works best for you at home.
Psychotherapist, Ian Jenkins has also provided some helpful tips on social distancing and working from home that will help you keep motivation, productivity and enthusiasm up.
- Create a similar work from home routine to your normal work life.
- Create a tight and realistic schedule, incorporating rest, leisure and family time. Routine is essential.
- Create a workspace – quite or noisy, depending on how you work best. Avoid working in or on your bed, as you’ll start associating the bed with work stress, causing sleep issues and insomnia.
- Dress for work. Our brains work by association, and if we dress for work, our brains expect to work.
- Work at times, you are usually most productive. For Ian Jenkins, it’s an early start and finish, but for you, it might be the opposite.
- Stay in contact with colleagues and clients using the wealth of modern technology available.
– PushON is using Microsoft Team Chat and Zoom for calls, as well as dialling into conference lines at home. Our Microsoft Team Chat has been extremely active for both work-related stuff and to maintain morale, as we’re all working together to support each other.
- The ‘non-work’ commute (within Government’s guidelines). This means leaving your home for a walk or drive before or after work to send a signal to your brain the working day has started and ended.
- Set realistic targets and create rewards. That might be finishing an article before a snack or drink.
– Or in Elle’s case, buy yourself an Easter egg as a treat to have at the end of the working week!
- Exercise, this is good for body and mind.
- The Government has permitted a daily walk, run or cycle.
- Reduce distractions. Be clear with families about your work boundaries; avoid TV if it distracts you, any household chores should be left for out of work hours.
- Set up your working day the night before. This can include planning tasks, calls, to-do lists and sorting files etc. So, in the morning, you can get straight to work and feel great as you achieve.
Protect your non-work time, turning off communications from work so you can separate your home and work as much as possible. Ian also advised that while his suggestions will help, you need to establish it by repetition to be effective. You need to consider your subconscious brain you are serious, focused and working.
And finally, Peggy, PushON’s beloved dog who we all miss, has provided some barking advice.
Peggy recommends her dog companions still go for their daily walk, play fetch as much as possible but maintain social distancing with other dog owners.
And remember, you must listen to the Government’s advice. For more information about working from home and social distancing, please visit the Government’s website.