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.

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