Working remotely, as many of us are probably discovering, is a very different beast to working within an office environment. Most of us rely on those familiar structures to our working day: the alarm clock set for the same time each morning, the routine you have before leaving the house, the same route to work. These daily patterns gear us up for a day in the office and it can feel very strange when those are stripped away.
Working remotely has many positives, of course, but it’s often difficult to summon the same motivation and productivity as you’d usually experience in the office – at your desk, with colleagues around you, in an environment designated specifically for work. As such, for both employee and corporate wellbeing, it's important to establish a new routine and set boundaries for yourself while working remotely.
Stick to your usual routine
If you start work at 9am, try setting your alarm for 8. Give yourself enough time to get up, shower and have breakfast.
You need to treat this like a normal workday, so get dressed. Not too casual (e.g. pyjamas) but wear something comfortable. At the end of the working day, try changing clothes as well!
Create a workspace
If possible, designate a space in your home for work. This could be the kitchen table, a makeshift desk somewhere quiet, or an office room if you have one.
Take regular screen breaks
Stretching your legs, getting some fresh air, putting some music on or making yourself a cup of tea will help you to stay motivated.
Stick to set times
For example, if your working hours are 9-6, make sure you finish work at 6pm. It’s tempting when you work remotely to keep checking your emails and finishing bits off till late at night, but try to keep your evenings to yourself. Setting those boundaries will increase your productivity during working hours and boost your wellbeing outside of them.
Learn to manage expectations, including your own!
You might be working remotely, but that doesn’t mean you can necessarily take on a much bigger workload or be expected to work outside of your usual hours. Multi-tasking and juggling deadlines can feel daunting when you’re working from home, so make your boundaries clear and push back on additional tasks if you feel you have too much on your plate.
Everyone will be finding these new working circumstances a bit strange, so don't forget to talk to your colleagues and ask for support if you need it.