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Are we working from home still? Or living at work?

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

So from 1 August, UK employers had discretion to open their offices if it they deemed it to be safe, but most major cities are still pretty quiet and with Google announcing its employees will be at home until July 2021 many will follow suit.

But where does this leave us. I know many of you are dealing with continued stress and anxiety right now. We’ve all been at this for five months and many of us from the outset adopted an attitude of endurance. Let’s just get on with it we thought. I’ve done this myself at times in my career – just get that pitch finished, that deal to exchange or grin and bear it to the next holiday. But that level of endurance isn’t sustainable nor it is healthy.

I wanted to suggest some tips that might help you gain a better balance in this continued working from home environment:

1. Build in time between calls and meetings – just because Outlook or Gmail suggests your meeting should be 30 or 60 minutes it doesn’t mean it needs to be. Try and find 5-10 minute breaks between each session to give yourself chance to stand up, walk outside or grab drink. These short mental breaks are helpful especially if you’re on video calls all day (which are proven to be more exhausting) and it will help you keep moving.

2. Try adopting a new routine to your mornings that incorporates some time for you. Instead of just walking to your table, desk (or if you’re fortunate) office space at home – walk around the block, go for a run, read a magazine article, grab a coffee – do some of the things you’d normally do on your commute. What do you especially value from your old morning routine?

3. Take the break – just because your holiday plans don’t look quite like you’d planned don’t use that as an excuse to be available for work. I’ve heard too many clients say “well you probably can contact me as I’m JUST [in Cornwall, doing the garden, visiting family]”. Don’t make this summer holiday time less than. Taking a mental break from work is important to help you recharge your batteries, gain perspective and to return motivated and with the energy to continue on with this.

4. Reflect on what has worked for you through this time – what have you enjoyed about this time at home? What have you learnt about yourself? What do you want to retain? Finding the positives can be helpful especially as we start to explore what a blended week might look like for the future.

5. Work out when you do your best work – when you think about your best days recently what have been the components? Think about when you prefer to communicate, do quiet work, create or collaborate. How can you build this into next week’s plan – try and get on the front foot of your week and shape your diary into what’s work for you. If you let others do that for you you’ll be working to their priorities and preferences and not yours.

6. Communicate clearly with your colleagues and team members – remember people aren’t mind readers and especially in this virtual world it might take more signalling than normal to get across what’s going on for you. But that’s goes for picking up on signs too – make sure you check-in on that quiet colleague, think about who you haven’t heard from and make a habit of reaching out to someone each week (I prefer to pick up the phone and have a chat!).

Hope you find this helpful and do get in touch if you’d like a chat on getting more balance into your working day.

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