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5 Tips For Remote Working – Guest Blog

Remote Working

It seems daunting, but remote working isn’t something to be scared about folks. For one the commute to the new office is a breeze, and there’s a great coffee place on-site, but it isn’t all iced lattes and pj’s, it can cause some serious mental fatigue.

We all have a new routine. And that isn’t easy. We have to be more diligent with our time and tasks, all while throwing a ball to the dog or balancing a screaming toddler on your hip. Or even maybe just working at home with your partner is proving a challenge. We aren’t used to being home up all day with the people we live with. Which is why we here to help. We have teamed up with a favorite local business of ours, Business Fives to give you some tips on how to survive working remotely.

 

Remote Working Isn’t All Bad…

Remote working looks certain to be the new normal to some degree with staff across the country proving they can maintain productivity and in some cases enjoy higher efficiency from working from home, whilst being trustworthy.

A huge consideration for responsible employers through the mass adoption of remote working is maintaining mental health amongst colleagues whilst working from home. 

We have outlined 4 useful tips you can share to promote positive mental wellbeing while working remotely.

Flexible Routine

Having a routine is important when it comes to the working week. The mass migration to remote working has thrown routines off track and some employees may struggle with the adjustment. Building a routine for your working hours can lead to more focus and increase productivity.  Some employees prefer a flexible routine. And it’s important that all routines allow for flexibility so the needs of household members are accounted for. 

It is not always possible to segregate family time and work time whilst remote working. Awareness of this can improve mental wellbeing. This allows employees to be relaxed about dealing with situations. And know that they will make the time up when they can. 

Establish simple routines such as coffee breaks that you’d normally do in the office. These don’t require much self-control but do help to normalize the working day.  Where possible make dedicated time for work and leisure, realize that sticking to these times is important but allow yourself a degree of flexibility. 

You may want to devise a schedule that has short bursts of focussed work with small breaks at the end.  Having and sticking to set wake up times and building exercise into your daily routine can have huge benefits towards a healthy mind.

Colleague Check-ins 

This can involve check-ins between all members of staff and doesn’t have to be a management-led activity. Encourage employees to schedule a time to talk to each other. This can lead to increased collaboration and innovative ideas through problem-solving. While working remotely we are missing out on those moments of interaction that can inspire innovation in the workplace, so encouraging colleague check-ins can bring back that sense of togetherness and promote collaborative company culture. 

Environment 

The importance of having a comfortable working environment is crucial to getting in the right headspace for work. 

If it’s possible, you can work in a different room than the one you spend your leisure time in. Separating living space from working space is important and can help productivity. Don’t have the option of working in a separate room? Make sure your environment has a proper desk set up. 

Tidying your work away when finished so that it isn’t a reminder of work when you are relaxing is a great tip to use.

Switch Off 

In a world of hyper-connectivity, the temptation to be always switched on by constantly checking emails or opening the laptop to check the progress of ongoing tasks. For a positive mindset, it is important to switch off from work outside working hours. Being constantly available can lead to increased stress levels and create a level of expectancy amongst clients or colleagues that you are available on demand. By switching off you allow your mind to relax. 

By engaging in absorbing activities like experimental cooking, mindfulness meditation activities, sport, or playing with your children or pets after work allows the opportunity to tune out from work-related pressures.

Looking for some more tips? This video covers some handy points to help with remote working…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J7rr2whIRY

For further information on maintaining mental wellbeing and mindfullness visit MindPanda here.

Chaos Managed: How to Work from Home Effectively

How to work from home effectively

The good news: you’re still working, despite the coronavirus crisis. But you’re working from home. Have you got kids and pets underfoot, with your partner making their own work calls? Has your neighbour started a DIY project to keep busy? Or maybe you have the opposite challenge of too much quiet. How do you work from home effectively? We’ve got you covered with a bucketful of mindful ideas.

Right on cue

Change is hard at the best of times, but fortune favours the prepared. Try to stick to your normal morning routine (minus the commute). The act of getting up at the same time,  getting ready and possibly even going for a walk will trigger all kinds of habits so you know it’s time to work.

Create some times during the day when you won’t be looking at a screen. Since conversations now mostly take place over video, it can be easy to get sucked in to constant screen time. Beware of overwork and mark the transition from work to leisure in the evening.

The same goes for building movement into your day. You may find you’re sitting a lot more – meetings are now at your desk and the loo is a few steps away. Compensate by planning some exercise to keep your energy levels up.

Put some thought into your workstation, too. It might be tempting to work on the sofa or even in bed, but your body and your motivation can suffer. If you’re playing a giant game of human tetris with your family or flatmates, have an open conversation about what everyone needs. Can you rotate spaces to balance quiet concentration and video calls?

See the positives

A constant flow of coronavirus news and social posts can increase the negativity in your life. For balance, try to limit your exposure and take some time for gratitude.

What are the positives of your new situation? Make some time every day to jot down three things that you’re grateful for during lockdown. You may find that it makes you notice the positive things more. It’s mindfulness in action.

Be productive with the extra time you’ve saved on the commute – and savour it. You might try a new mindfulness meditation, read that book you have been putting off, learn a new instrument, or something else that nourishes your soul.

Don’t forget that doing good can do you good. When you help others, it promotes physiological changes in the brain that are linked with happiness. What will you do for others today?

Have a break

Most of us have a lot more time on our hands than usual. People are doing all kinds of good things, from baking bread to spring-cleaning the house. But don’t feel you have to fill all your time with new projects.

Take time for a breather – literally. Allow yourself time to relax and take respite from the pressure to be busy. The question of how to work from home effectively will quickly be put into perspective. And meditation takes advantage of the flexibility of working from home. (Unless you’re a pro at meditating at the office.) We have a whole page of free mindfulness resources here for you to try.

Create a connection

Social distance is crucial, emotional distance can be lonely. Put some extra effort into communicating with your colleagues and friends, now that you might not see them as often.

You could take time at the start of meetings to ask connection-building questions. Or put a daily ‘huddle’ with your team on the schedule. Asking colleagues to keep their camera on during work calls can also be great for seeing how people are. At the end of the day, make a habit to check that your teammates aren’t working lots of overtime. It can be easy to lose track of the time, when you don’t have your commute to remind you.

We loved this Twitter tip for couples working together: Get yourselves an imaginary co-worker to blame things on. You can then talk about ‘Cheryl’ and what to do about the dirty water cups she keeps on leaving all over the place.

What’s your top tip on how to work from home effectively? We’d love to hear from you.

For more ideas, check out our mindfulness at work blog post.

10 Tips For More Mindfulness At Work

10 tips for more mindfulness at work

Good news, first. We’re living for longer. The downside? We’re going to spend more years at work, too. No wonder that many of us are thinking about how to stay healthier for longer. Whether it’s combatting the effects of too much sitting or dealing with stress, workplace wellbeing is here to stay. Slowing down and practicing Mindfulness at work can increase productivity, focus and overall happiness in the workplace. For example, chronic multitaskers have increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can damage memory and reduce cognition. But caught in the whirlwind of email, meetings and demands, it can feel difficult to justify setting time aside. Or maybe it’s just the thought of the boss coming round while you’ve got your eyes closed.

Businesses are also waking up to the benefits of wellbeing programmes, such as a boost in employee engagement. Mental health issues account for 70 million sick days in the UK per year, so there is a need for improvement. All very well and good, but how can it work in practice?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 easy tips for practicing mindfulness at work – and you don’t even have to close your eyes.

1 – Start your day right

Even a short commute offers chances to get mindful. Sitting on the train? Take a few minutes to listen to a guided meditation. (Just be careful not to miss your stop.) Even if you’re stuck with driving, a quiet few minutes while parked can make all the difference.

2 – Single-task

Being completely present is easier if you’re only doing one thing. One of the benefits of mindfulness is that it helps to build concentration. So try to eliminate distractions and focus your mind on one task at a time.

3 – No more eating al desco

Even if you only have a few minutes, try to get away from your desk. Put the screens away. Chew your food carefully and pay attention to the flavours, textures and temperature. Notice how you’re eating and how satisfied you feel. No wonder the NHS includes mindful eating in its weight loss programmes.

4 – Walk the walk

Mindful walking is a great stress-buster. Even if it’s just ten minutes, it can help you to clear your head. How can you start? There’s formal meditation, which you can practise. Or you can simply bring more awareness to what your walk.

Turn off the autopilot and notice how you’re breathing – the speed, the depth, the sensations. How does your body feel as you plant each foot and how does your clothing feel on your skin? What are the sounds, smells and colours around you?

5 – Before presentations

Feeling nervous before a big presentation? Give yourself a moment to warm up. Find a quiet corner and take some mindful breaths before you step into the room. Be aware of your feelings, but focus on your body and your breath.

6 – Think gratitude

Are your colleagues/clients/suppliers (delete as appropriate) are driving you a little mad? Try to make time to think of things you’re grateful for. The new perspective can help you to regain control of your feelings.

7 – Keep a reminder

When things get stressful, it’s easy to lose track of the time. Why not choose a small object to keep with you and anchor your thoughts? Put it in your desk, slip it into your pocket and remind yourself to breathe when you need it most. Our mindfulness stress balls are brilliant for this – and they smell great, too.

8 – Start a group

Mindfulness is more popular than ever. If your colleagues are up for it, why not start a mindfulness group? You won’t need much more than a quiet space and somewhere comfortable to sit.

Our top tip? Avoid sitting opposite each other. There’s nothing more disconcerting than trying to meditate while avoiding eye contact with Steve from Accounts.

9 – Take a moment

You don’t have to close your eyes or assume the lotus position. Whenever you notice that you’re getting a bit tense, take three deep breaths. You can focus on your breath. Or another part of the body. Try wiggling your toes one at a time. It’s surprisingly difficult.

10 – Switch off

“Always on” is killing our concentration. Unless you’re a doctor and on-call, you can turn off your email for 15 minutes (or more) while you get on with your work. And if you’re worried about how this looks, announce it first.

Of course, mindfulness only works if you’re also addressing the underlying issues causing stress in the first place. So if there’s a real problem with workload, make sure you speak to your manager.

So that’s it, ten easy ways to build some mindfulness into your working day. Remember, Mindfulness at work does not have to be time consuming or take your away from important tasks. Simple changes to how you go about your day can make all the difference.