October 7th, 2020
For many, 2020 has meant a swap to work-at-home for the first time or in a more full-time capacity for others. The Office of National Statistics found that in April 2020, 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home.
The Guardian writes the age of remote working has arrived and with many of us not looking at a return to the office any time soon it’s time to get good at working-at-home.
Whilst some have thrived naturally in this new mode of work, others can’t wait to get back to the office. No matter how you feel about working-at-home, change can be hard – we’ve put together the top 10 tips to ensure work-at-home happiness going forward.
1. Make your bed
We’ve all been guilty of arriving at work half-zombified until that first cup of coffee hits – the wrong side of the bed is a place many of us are familiar with on a Monday morning.
When you work at home you may not have the regular distractions to pull you out of the Monday morning blues and that’s why starting the day on the right track is so important.
Making your bed is an easy way to start your day on the right foot. This tiny task lends itself to the tidy house, tidy mind way of organising your life which is particularly important when home and work become one and the same.
Check out the graduation speech by a US admiral who claims the key to success starts with making your bed:
2. Keep a schedule – map out your day
If like most people you’ve found it’s suddenly October, you might be feeling like 2020 is the year where time has lost meaning. That’s why structuring your day is instrumental to happiness when you work at home.
Our brains like routine and having one whilst you work at home will make you happier – no matter how much a lay-in a day sounds like the way to go.
Using a tool like Trello to work with your team and stay connected or an old-fashioned pen and paper to map out your day can boost your productivity and help you stay on task as the day goes by.
You read that right – play is notoriously important for the healthy brain development of children and it’s really important for adult’s wellbeing too. Play fuels imagination and creativity, hones problem-solving abilities and increases emotional wellbeing.
It’s proven to improve brain function, relationships and social skills, and yet a large proportion of adults have forgotten how to play. Sometime between childhood and now, many of us have put our imagination to rest and grew up.
We’re suggesting it is time to grow down.
With all these benefits and no one around to see it, work at home presents the perfect opportunity to have fun again.
Try it out, take a blast to the past and play these classic games:
4. Enjoy being at home
The top four reasons being at home is the best in no particular order:
- No more listening to other people’s music – blare your choice as loud as you like or enjoy sweet, sweet silence but you control what’s playing and set the volume in your own home.
- Wear pyjamas – no one will know. Zoom meeting? Throw on a smart top and you’re all set
- No commute – don’t worry about the traffic – in fact, don’t even think about it, what’s a car? Your morning commute really depends on the size of your house and we guarantee it’s shorter than it was before!
- Get your chores done – this one’s less fun but let’s face it, it’s pretty handy to get a wash out or nip the dog out for a walk whilst you’re at work rather than having to squeeze it into the evening!
5. Eat lunch
This might seem basic but it’s really easy to forget that your lunch break is important – especially when there’s no water cooler to chat around.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but lunch gives us the fuel we need to get through to dinner. Skipping lunch, asides from working too hard, can lead to exhaustion and over-eating, neither of which keep us happy!
Here’s some tasty ten-minute recipes to try out:
6. Make space
Creating a separate space just for work is a great way to draw the line between work at home. Sure, working from the sofa sounds like a treat until you start feeling guilty for watching Friends over lunch.
Having a home office, a spare room with a desk, or a nook under the stairs – any space you can separate out will help you keep your wires from getting crossed, after all, it’s called work at home not sleep at work.
7. Take breaks
Like playing, brain breaks are proven to increase productivity. Countless studies have shown the benefits of brain breaks on productivity, creativity and engagement. What’s more, breaks that stimulate your brain can reduce stress, increase happiness and even help you live longer.
A 2018 study found that 23% of British people work overtime daily (!) meaning that nearly a quarter of us were working more than we should before the office became home where starting early, finishing late and missing lunch all become incredibly easy to do.
Now that work-at-home is a regular feature of modern life, breaks are an important and beneficial part of your day that you should remember to take – for your health and for your happiness.
8. Get fresh air
Get some fresh air, take a walk, get your daily dose of vitamin D.
Fresh air increases the amount of Serotonin that our brains produce – the hormone that makes us happy – which means a walk outside will make you happier on a chemical level.
Coupled with the endorphins that make us happy from exercise a walk around the block before work or over lunch will lift your spirits.
More than this, getting outside gives us a much-needed change of pace, an opportunity to stretch and relieve the tension of hunching over a desk and boosts our immune systems meaning that we stay healthier with minimum effort!
9. Social plans
Make the most of your evenings, social plans in the evenings were always important but now that you no longer face the commute home, home time really means home time.
While this one is a bit more of a stretch in 2020 depending on where you are in the world, getting out for a socially distant cup of coffee or a game of tennis can be a really great way to boost your happiness levels.
Human nature pulls us to other people, to seek connections – making the most of your evenings by seeing your friends and family can make your days feel longer, make you happier and more productive during working hours.
10. Put work away at the end of the day
Out of sight, out of mind – it’s a phrase most of us are familiar with but now is the time to act on it.
When the end of the day hits leaving work spread out over the dining room table or the kitchen side (or your office, we see you tip number 6) is a surefire way to let work seep into the personal. Having a clear divide between the working day and your own time gives you time to regenerate and will ultimately make your work better as a result, bringing fresh eyes to it in the morning.
What’s more, putting away work at the end of the day means that in the morning, once your bed is made and the coffee is brewed, your first task is recreating that workspace.
Like putting on a hard hat readies you for a building site, setting up your workspace again the next morning prepares you for the day ahead and makes sure the first task of your workday is one that will always be a success.
And that’s our top 10 tips to work-at-home happiness! We hope you’re happy however you’re working!
CMME can give advice and support to self-employed people and offer bespoke advice on your individual situation. If you would like to know more, contact us today.