WFH – the acronym referring to working from home.
WFH is certainly something few industries are lucky enough to utilise during the pandemic. Yet, ironically during the pre-pandemic years it was often discouraged by employers. Whilst, working from home certainly has its advantages it hosts a set of problems. The reality is permanently working from home comes with its own some significant drawbacks. Things we might never have considered before when many of us worked in equipped office spaces.
Furthermore, the simple days of having designated office hours have began to dissipate. Many office workers end up bombarded with late night email requests. Don’t get me started on the lack of ergonomic chairs, office supplies and poor internet connection. Honestly, I cannot even fathom how parents are coordinating a work and home life simultaneously. All I can do is tip my hat to them in silent awe.
After a pelerious 2020 the public were hoping 2021 would deliver a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, as more lockdowns take hold across the UK, and indeed Europe, we are left with the all to familiar drudgery of working from home. Thankfully, I have become well versed in working at home for long periods of time. Writing books requires being been bound to my house in order to fulfil editorial deadlines. Sometimes, I have done voluntary lockdowns if only to accomplish further creative projects. Ofcourse, I have always prefered writing from local cafes or libraries if only to avoid procrastinating and watching to much television. 2020 forced me to change some of my writing tactics. Sometimes we must play the hand we are dealt. Nevertheless, working from home need not be entirely impossible.
Here are some of my tips to help you WFH. I hope they help during these difficult times. Remember we are all in this together.
1. Create a separate workspace
The main issue with working from home is not being able to separate your home and work life. During 2020, I used the couch as my workspace but it was also my place to unwind, to watch films or read. This caused me to become demotivated and trapped. When you do not detach the work and home environment everything feels like an endless cycle. It is definitely a contributing factor to low mood. This is why creating a separate workspace is vital. Living in a small space in London I can understand how creating an ideal workspace can be tricky. However, investing in a foldaway desktop or a small table is absolutely essential. Having a separate workspace allows me to detach from the creature comforts that surround me and get my head stuck into work.
2. Create a routine
I know this sounds impossible to do during a global pandemic, but some small tricks can help. Many of us have struggled with how to set up a sensible routine that benefits our mental health. One of the hardest parts of not having an official office is the fact many of us lost the office hours. Gone are the days of 9 to 5, replaced with a bombardment of emails from every hour of the day. Whilst this may have become the new norm it doesn’t mean you should be working overtime everyday. Setting yourself sensible boundaries helps create a healthier mindset. Keep your phone handy so you can glance at requests, but only respond to urgent requests when it is late in the night. You must find a way to leave work behind to have a sense of daily routine. The same applies to personal projects, set sensible time restrictions to avoid a burn out. It is important to take time to relax especially in a pandemic.
3. Start or Continue to Meal Prep
Being close to the kitchen fridge can be a blessing and a curse, especially if you are perpetual snacker like me. Furthermore, there’s a multitude of takeaways at our disposal that make meal prepping seem redundant. I highly enjoy a takeaway when I’m too tired to cook. However, bad eating habits eventually come back to haunt me with a low bank account and an unhealthy body. I understand the lure of delicious fast food. Let’s face it cooking, can be time-consuming. The most effective way to juggle work and home life is to prepare your meals in advance. Meal preparation can be a fun weekend activity that allows you to experiment with different foods. Half the fun is planning the menu for the week ahead. If you want to diet you can go the extra mile and work out the calories per dish. Once cooked, freeze your lunch for the following week ahead. The reward is popping a delicious meal into the microwave whilst you relax during your lunch break. Furthermore, it minimizes the clean up afterwards.
4. Buy the essential office supplies
The office hosted an array of useful devices that we all took for granted. These varied from the simple stapler, the folders and even the photocopier; everything served a purpose. Now, we face the harsh truth that we must purchase some of these items for everyday use. Indeed, some office supplies are crucial for life admin, for example, the printing of documents. Printing became my personal nightmare during the lockdown in the UK. Eventually, I had to submit and buy a printer for my home. For me, it’s an absolute necessity whilst living and working from home. Depending on your profession or your home life, there may be another item from the office you missed. Shop around to find the best deal that suits your needs.