Many of us are still unable to venture back to the office, or we’ve come to an agreement to work from home on a temporary to permanent basis. For some, this is fantastic news as working from the comfort of your own home is a gift to more than a few. But, as with anything in life, there are pros and there are cons. Those who are new to the working from home game have probably already encountered most, if not all of the common pitfalls. Distractions mount up, procrastination becomes more alluring, or the beginning and end of a working day become blurred with life outside of work.

We’ve been digging around and have come up with some tips on how to maintain your work/life balance and look after your mental health while your home doubles up as your office.

Set clear boundaries

It’s hugely common for people to start earlier or finish later when working from home. We all know someone who is permanently switched ‘on’ and in work mode 24/7. This can inevitably lead to stress, overwhelm and burnout.

The trick here may be easier said than done, but you must set your boundaries and define when your working day starts and ends. If you need a ritual to indicate the beginning of your day, try getting up and getting ready for work as usual and taking a walk round the block – when you enter your house you are entering work. Then at the end of the day, do the same and when you enter your house, you’ve come home from work. It may sound a bit silly but using indicators like this can really help you define when you’re ‘on’ and when you’re ‘off’.

Have a dedicated work area

Wherever you decide to set up your workspace, make sure you have one dedicated area. The problem with allowing yourself to work from various rooms in the house is that they then all become your office and it’s harder to see your home as it’s meant to be seen – as a place of relaxation and comfort. If your laptop is sitting on the sideboard in the kitchen, for example, you’ve got a constant reminder of work looming over you. Make a space somewhere you can call your office and let the rest of your home be your home.

Be strict with friends and family

This is a little harder for some. One thing a lot of people who work from home find is that their friends and family assume you have more time to ‘slack off’ when you’re not out at work. It’s easily done, that friend who pops over for coffee in the middle of the day, that neighbour who has their packages redirected to your house because they know you’ll be in, that family member who expects you to chip in more as you’re physically there. You need to make sure you let people know you are at work. You’re on the clock. And they wouldn’t dream of doing this if you were out at your place of work. It can be a tough conversation, but you need to be assertive to make sure those around you understand the situation.

Stay connected

Working from home can be pretty isolating for some people and loneliness can ensue. Stay connected to your team, either by regular online meetups or sharing online workspaces. There are some great software solutions out there and Jarvis CRM integrates with these solutions so you are always connected with your team.

Take regular breaks

It’s really easy to work through lunch and be a slave to your laptop and sit on your behind all day. You don’t need us to point out how unhealthy this is. When you work in a shared office, you move about perhaps more than you realize, chatting to co-workers at their desks, volunteering to do the coffee run, even just walking to the printer. When you’re at a desk all day at home, you need to make sure you take regular breaks from your screen and from sitting. Every hour to 90 minutes, get up, walk around, or close your eyes and meditate for 5 minutes. You’ll feel more refreshed and your eyes and back will thank you for it.

You need to find solutions that work for you but ultimately, you need to be kind to yourself. Remember, these are strange and uncertain times. Work hard, sure, but relax hard too.

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