THE NEW NORMAL-Tips on Adapting to Working/Job Hunting From Home
Posted 11th May 2020 • Written by People First
If Working From Home or WFH is to be the new normal, then we all need to get used to it and make the most of it. WFH has a lot of upsides but the downsides can have a serious impact on us as individuals and also on our relationships with others, whether partners, family members or just colleagues, so it is vital we take control of our new situation and separate our work life from our home life.
Build structure into your new workday
It might not be the best idea to use the hour you normally spend commuting by staying in bed, so start your day the same way you would if going to the office.. If you normally listen to music or read or do a crossword on your commute, do the same again at home. If you exercise, jog, go to the gym before the office, factor that in too. It will help settle you into the day and, most importantly, you’re doing something you enjoy.
At the ‘office’
And when you ‘arrive’ at the ‘office’ continue to follow your usual work routine.
Start work at the same time you normally do.
And Get dressed!
It sounds silly, but having a shower, brushing your teeth and getting out of your pyjamas will get you in the right frame of mind for work.
At your desk
When you get to your desk, try to make it as much like work as possible. If you have enough space to dedicate a whole room to be your office, then that is ideal. Not all of us have that luxury though and you might need to work in the kitchen or your bedroom. Even if that’s the case do your best to make sure you can work comfortably, in a chair that won’t give you backache, on a table that’s big enough, and, very importantly, with natural light if you can, to make up for what you’re missing out on by being inside.
Your new Working Day
Between the start and end of your working day as much as you can, again, keep things as close to normal as possible.
Whether you work in a big company or big team or small company or small team, stay in touch with each other. Not only by email but by phone and video too, so you can actually see and hear other people.
And it doesn’t need to be only about work.
If you have a colleague or colleagues who you usually speak to about their weekend, or evening plans, or who you regularly go for a coffee with, whether outside or at an office vending machine, you can keep up that vital social interaction from home too by arranging for you all to have a break and a coffee at the same time and chatting by text or video call.
Don’t feel awkward or embarrassed about wanting to speak to people, everyone, even people who don’t like their job or don’t like all their colleagues, will be missing not having contact with anyone. We are all experiencing the same strange new way of life, some will find it harder to adapt then others and will also find it harder to talk about those issues to others. Don’t be afraid to initiate that kind of contact and communication. Some people will be grateful to you.
Leaving Work for the Day
Just as starting your workday at the same time as usual is important, so is finishing it.
When you don’t have to leave the office to catch a train or bus home it can be easy to lose track of time and keep on working. It’s vital for your own physical and mental health to stop, and it’s just as important for the people you live with, so they don’t lose you to your new life.
Being able to ‘leave’ your ‘office’ will allow you to switch off. If you can close the door on the room you’re now working in, that’s perfect, but if where you live is too small, pack away as much of your work equipment as possible.
If you work on a laptop, put it out of sight until the next morning.
If you have a PC, cover it up so at least you can’t see, it. Disconnect the mouse and keyboard and put them in a drawer.
If the laptop you use for work is the one you have for personal use too then close all the work
related tabs and folders to stop them distracting you in the evening or at the weekend.
As much as you can, ‘leave’ work at the end of the day.
When your day is done, and you’ve ‘closed’ your ‘office’ door don’t just switch on the news and get sucked into watching constant coverage of coronavirus, it can only add to anxiety and distress. The Mental Health Foundation, a UK charity supporting those with mental health problems, says: “It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it. It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual.”
Make sure you have something to look forward to, something to take your mind off work, something you enjoy.
Whether it’s going out to walk your dog, exercising or simply switching off and reading, keep up those positive routines too. These are important during your working day too, even if it’s just a little thing like having a cup of coffee at the same time each day, or getting up from your desk to stretch your legs. You do it normally, you enjoy it, it gets you away from work for a short time, so keep doing it!
Engage with nature too. Even if it’s little more than looking at the birds outside your window (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/16/home-birds-how-to-spot-20-of-the-most-common-species-from-your-window-walk-or-garden) or getting your hands in some soil in a window box on your window sill if you don’t have a garden, or in a houseplant pot if you don’t have a window sill https://www.patchplants.com/gb/en/care/indoor-plant-care/ it will be a satisfying distraction.
After you’ve spent all day looking at a screen (which may even be smaller than the one you use at work if you’re using a laptop), try not to spend all evening looking at another screen. Too much computer or TV light is not good for your eyes. Or your sleep.
Try some new activities, we have many here on our website https://www.people-first.co.uk/things-to-do-during-
In conclusion then, as always it is very important to not let work take over your life and in this new way of life, don’t let it take over your home. Give yourself time to rest and recover and sleep, give yourself distractions during the working day and especially in the evening and at the weekend.
Though you now have to work there, as much as possible keep your home as the place you relax and unwind. It’s best for you and everyone you know too.