With the current pandemic sweeping the globe, there’s never been a better time to work from home.
As someone who’s been doing the remote working thing for over a year, I’m here with some good news – there’s a way to do it without sacrificing your sanity, as long as you follow the rules.
The Unbreakable Rules of Working From Home
Rule #1 Always. Get. Dressed
I cannot stress this enough. Your dog/cat/small child may not fit the definition of a client or a colleague but they still don’t want to see you hanging out in your pyjamas 24/7.
Nothing says ‘I’ve abandoned all my professional aspirations’ quite like fleecy yoga pants.
Rule #2 Maintain Personal Hygiene
Showering every day should be a non-negotiable fact of life, not something you do because you don’t want to be the smelly one in the office.
Working from home is not an excuse to adjust your bathing schedules. Shampoo your hair, clean your teeth and (above all) WASH YOUR HANDS. Reduced contact with your fellow humans should not turn you into an animal.
Rule #3 Keep Your Workspace Tidy
Home offices come in all shapes and sizes.
You might be working at a laptop on the kitchen table, squeezed into that dusty corner in the hallway or confined to a corner of your bedroom – whatever your space looks like, it’s your space so keeping it clean isn’t just a matter of eliminating germs, it’s also about having some pride in your own exclusive part of the house.
Rule #4 Add Some Personal Touches
Your working space should be somewhere you want to go every day. Keeping it clean is one thing but you can also take this opportunity to add the personal touches – bright splashes of colour, pinboards, cherished photos, plants – now is the time to unleash your inner designer.
And, if you’re quarantining, there are plenty of DIY decorations for crafty types around the web.
Rule #5 Take Breaks. Preferably Away From The Internet
Day one of your working from home experience should include setting a routine. I recommend scheduling a one-hour break for lunch and a short break every 45 minutes throughout the working day. And don’t forget start times and clocking off times.
Apart from the obvious wiggle room for delays and deadlines, stick to this schedule as if you were being monitored by a severe, all-seeing, all-knowing manager.
And try your best to shut down the laptop for that full hour at lunch – internet overload is a very real threat to mental health at the moment for obvious reasons.
Rule #6 Don’t Be a Hermit
Yes, this seems confusing in light of the advice to stay home, social distance and self-isolate. All those things should definitely be in play, but that doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off from family, friends and support networks.
None of us are alone in this. We’re all facing uncertainty, fear and loneliness.
The good news is that we live in a hyper-connected world. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you can’t make time for people.
I’ve been glued to Skype since this went down because I’ve family all over the globe and regularly scheduled video calls are getting us through this, together.
At the risk of sounding like a cheesy celebrity, it’s entirely possible to be a remote worker and a connected human.