There is no denying that Covid-19 has dramatically changed our country. With lockdown still in full force, a huge chunk of the UK workforce have had to alter the way they work, either with social distancing in place, furlough, or in most cases, moving their work to home. This might have seemed like a dream situation at first, but now that we’re into week 7, many people are starting to realise they may have to make some changes so that they can keep working from home. Because if you work from home, you need a dedicated space to be productive, and when work normally takes you to an office, this isn’t something most people have in their home. Instead, they’ll find themselves working at the dining table, getting distracted by all the home things that need doing, and finding their work-life balance is completely out of whack.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 5 things you can do to separate work and pleasure during lockdown, and make sure you are productive and present as possible in both worlds.
Odds are you’re not the only one working from home at the moment. Whether it’s a partner, parents, or kids, you might find yourself sharing space with people you never intended to work with. And as you struggle to find a new routine that works for everyone, you might find that your work bleeds into all sorts of places and times it shouldn’t. So take a step back and set yourself some clear boundaries – both mentally and physically. Make it clear to the people you live with that just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you are constantly available, and set out hours that you need to dedicate to just working. On top of that, try and create a space within your home that is just for your work, which will signal to both other people and your own brain that this is work time, and help keep you focussed.
This one is tricky, and it takes normal home-workers a while to get used to. Whether it’s a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, washing that hasn’t been done yet or just some of that life admin you haven’t managed to get around to yet, your workplace just became full of distractions and excuses. While your home and office are under the same roof, this kind of distraction becomes much more difficult to ignore. But ignore it you must, if you want to get anything done! A good way to handle this is to block out a time in your day to take a break from work and instead focus on doing those chores. This means everything will still get done, but you don’t need to worry about it while you should be working.
If you work in an office or a retail space, you’ve probably spent some time making your work area a pleasant place to be. After all, you spend 8 hours a day there! But you haven’t had that luxury with your new home working space, so this week pencil in some time to do it. Attractive work surroundings have a positive impact on mental health, mood and productivity, so it’s worth spending a little time on. Spruce up your work area with a few plants and pictures, and make sure you have some natural light and ventilation as well.
If you’re struggling to find space in your home for you and potentially others to work in, it might be time to look at self-storage. It’s a great solution for the current situation, as it can be done on a contact-free basis, is completely flexible and allows you to store as much or as little as you need to. For example, you might want to temporarily turn your spare bedroom (which no one will be staying in anytime soon) into an office space, which means you’ll need to store all that furniture. Using self-storage will allow you to reclaim some space and keep your home and work lives a bit more separate. Since lockdown isn’t likely to end soon and many of us will still be working from home for at least 2-3 months, now is the perfect time to look at a more permanent solution than just ‘muddling through’.
Working from home is a lot more mentally taxing than working in an office, especially if you’re not used to it. So you will need something to help you unwind, relax and get out of work mode at the end of the day. Whether it’s a glass of wine, an episode on Netflix or a nice long walk with the dog, make sure you have something lined up to reward yourself with as soon as the working day is done. Not only is this a nice thing to do, but it signals to your brain that work time is over and now is home time – much like travelling home from work would do on a normal day.
If you need to create some space in your home during lockdown, we are here to help. Our centres are currently working on reduced hours, but we are still open for business and able to conduct contact-free rentals. So if you would like to know more, contact your local centre by phone or email.