While we don’t know what the rest of the year has in store for us, and with virus numbers still unstable, many people are still choosing to work from home when they can; for many, the prospect of full remote or hybrid working has become a permanent possibility.
Remote working comes with its own set of challenges and obstacles, but we have a few tips that might help! Last week we looked at the physical aspects such as seating and posture, this week we’re looking at other things such as focus, productivity and mental wellbeing.
While often more pleasant and obviously with a much lower commute time, working from home can sometimes cause other issues, such as a disconnect between team members, concentration and focus issues, or even overwork.
One option is an idea floated by Microsoft; a “virtual commute”, where people spend the period of time they would normally spend commuting (or perhaps less if the person has a long commute) getting in a morning walk or some exercise, or doing other things they may usually have done while commuting, such as reading (or listening to) emails, listening to or reading the news, catching up with relevant organisational matters, or other things that help people get into the right frame of mind for working. A session like this at the beginning and the end of the day can help people to differentiate between work time and leisure time, and can help people prepare mentally for entering or leaving the workday, in the way a normal commute would.
Another tip that might seem obvious but is sometimes not considered is working environment. Working in your usual home surroundings can mean many potential distractions, and can sometimes be difficult. Set limits to screen time on devices other than those you are using for work, limit browsing and other activities to off-work hours. Make sure that you have a calm and reasonably quiet environment to work in that’s free of distractions – music can be useful for some people to help with focus, while other options such as sounds of nature or ambient noise can be found on apps like Calm and Headspace which we reported on previously.
Working remotely can come with its own mental health benefits or issues, too, as many people are finding out. Mental health, wellness, and meditation apps such as Calm and Headspace can be useful. Checking in with friends and colleagues can help you to remain connected and productive as a team. Anyone experiencing any negative effects should be urged to speak to their colleagues or a doctor, to see what can be done – not all people will find remote working to be viable or suitable for them in the long term, whereas others may see huge benefits. Figuring out the best balance for you, your team and your organisation as a whole may take time!