Many people need a home work for the first time. Some have perched at kitchen tables or with a laptop on the sofa for months.
But even if a vaccine comes faster, people may never go back to the office full time. The early signs of how the covid pandemic affected the UK’s mental health are not good.
Levels of depression have increased , while in a recent survey by many people said working from home had made them more stressed.
Things To Keep Us Happier At Home:
Let in the light
“People vary quite a lot in terms of personality type”, say psychiatrist. “But the guiding principles are very clear. Sunlight alongside fresh air and key to nature is fundamentally good for your mental health.”
In this the daylight triggers mind to releases the hormone called serotonin. It helps to feel calm and focused, boosts their mood and reduces depression or anxiety. The benefits of daylight are huge.
Sunlight is the first block, it has such a big impact on the way we feel about a space and on regulating sleep. Dealing with coronavirus has been exhausting for everyone, so that’s particularly important right now.
The good news, is that people often have more control over light than they might think.
If you can, put your table near a window. Make sure you can fold the curtains back fully and clean the windows inside and out. Dirt on ventilator can significantly reduce the amount of sunlight passing through them.
Also, use mirrors to bounce light around the room, and paint the room with white or light colours also to reflect the light. Choose an upstairs room if you can. They always capture more sunlight, as do rooms with a high ceiling.
Shut out the noise
An expert in how the brain interprets sound, says that the different parts of your brain are constantly trying to find different noises and changes in sounds. That can be distracting from trying to work.
Sharp and loud noises are more of a problem than a low level babble. And parts of your brain scan for changes: You may only get distract by the noise stops. Noise tapping into your ‘fight or flight’ responses in brain.
A stressful sound induces an area of the brain call the amygdala to send the distress signals out. They are pick up by other part of the brain, the hypothalamus, which in turn prompts the adrenal glands to pump adrenaline into the blood. Blood pressure goes up.
It’s partly what the noises means to you. So, for example, your child crying will be much harder to ignore than traffic noise of the same volume.
Earplugs may be a solution for few, but if you want to go further, soft furnishings, thicker carpets and heavier curtains to absorb the sound are some of the things that your architects suggest.
If that doesn’t do any trick, under-carpet boards, replacement ceilings, additional layers of plaster board on walls, and window glasses without shutting out too much sunlight can help.
Study find that clutter can raises level of cortisol, a stress hormone. That’s because of clutter deliver conflicting stimuli to the brain, which then has to work harder to filter out the unhelpful signals.
Psychologist says: The problem with clutter is over-stimulation.
Normal levels of cortisol with occasional spikes are perfectly healthy, but chronically high levels of cortisol are associate with anxiety, depression, sleep disruption and headaches.
While a certain amount of clutter in a relaxing home, may not be a problem, if it’s now a workplace, you are in a different state, you need to cut down on distraction.
So have a proper clear out, get organise, and get some proper storage if you can.
If you aren’t going to work, you may not be walking to the bus stop or the station, or up and down long corridors to meetings and so on.
If your commute is now from the bedroom to the box room, you’re probably missing the physical activity out that can help keep you mentally as well as physically fit.
Different studies have find that exercise is a natural anti-anxiety treatment, relieving stress, boosting physical and mental energy, and enhancing well-being through the release of endorphins.
Lack of physical exercise can have a real impact. If people are missing out on activity or exercise, they need to think about how their day is structured and start making an explicit effort.
One option is to get standing table if you can and use it properly. Stand or sit some of the time. You can take short breaks and go for a walk.
It enable people to put a clear difference between their work and home life. When you are working at home the boundaries become permeable. Getting outdoors for regular exercise can give many home workers the decompression what they need.
Many reports are made for the mental benefits of contact with the natural world: reducing BP, anxiety, stress and rumination while improving attention, memory and sleep.
Bringing plants and other natural things and images into your home work area can have a significant impact.
Looking at natural objects can give your brain a break from focusing. They takes up your attention, but not in a demanding or over-stimulating way.
We also include nature with recreation and relaxation, so again that can help enhance our mood.
Social contact and not just online
people who find themselves unhappy working at home need to think hard about what it is they missing about going to the office and try to compensate for whatever they’ve lost.
Top of the list, for people is social contact. More of us than we expect get the majority maybe 80 or 90% of our social contact from being at work.
Whether that’s chatting with friends in the office or the lunch treat, it matters to a huge number of people.
When the lockdown came all of that disappears suddenly. It depend what kind of personality you are, but many people need to get more real social contact in other ways.
So get out at meal time and in the evenings connect with friends & family or people you feel connected to.
Meeting others is obviously much harder in lockdown, but meeting another person to exercise with, or to walk with.
Humans are social animals. Staring into a screen on video call is not enough!!
To decrease the spread of COVID-19, first schools and malls shut down across the country and then businesses started asking employees to Work From Home, where feasible.
If you are a worker, in telecalling or customer service or if your entire work is on a computer, then sooner or later, your employer will move you to a work from home status.
For those use to working remotely, this is not new for them. If you’re dealing with the situation for the first time, here’s how to master it.
1. Work Area
Your first task is to create a workspace in your house that is conducive for work from home. You should work in a room by yourself with a closed door. No roommates, and no bed to tempt you away.
Invest in the right furniture to make it comfortable at your home. A proper desk and ergonomic work chair are better than a backache triggered by working on the sofa with your laptop.
Keep your desk clean and tidy. Make sure you have a wall or background that suits a Skype, Zoom or video call with colleagues.
2. Get Organised
Ready with your laptop, diary, pen, cell phone and chargers in place. If you’re in noisy place, invest in a noise cancellation headphone.
Use a mouse for better efficiency. Check who will take care of your children and keep them away from disturbing you. If your partner is on work from home too, share time slots and children related chores. Organise routines for other disturbances like the maid and doorbell.
3. Master Ways
Learn to use the best ways available for a work from home. You can use Google Hangouts for a team video call, zoom and Slack or similar tools for messaging.
Project management tools like Asana help you achieve team outcomes while a list app can help organise your day. Talk to your IT department for any help you need, setting up a VPN if required.
4. Plan Workflow
Ready a Plan for your work before you start the day. Have a task list or work list in front of you. Concentrate on your projects and schedule time slots including extra time in between to cater for contingencies new tasks received from your manager.
When you start a task, continue it till end. Do not switch between tasks or get distract by your need to respond to a new mail. Multi-tasking is a productivity killer.
5. Communication First
The key to success at work from home lies in personal communication. Your team and manager need to know that you are available and taking working from home seriously. Thus, prefer to call your colleagues on video or chat with them instead of sending an email.
Ask for regular work evaluations from your manager and get adequate face time with him. Alone at home, may run the risk of social isolation. Participate in online non-work related video hangouts with your team.
As a manager share more information than usual with your team, provide them with the technology they need, organise social interactions and discuss how they are coping up with the situation.
6. Block People
The biggest challenge in work from home routine is the presence of other people at home or from your life. Block distractions from people by agreeing on ground rules.
Pretend that you aren’t at home while in working hours. Don’t get involve in conversations, personal calls or in housework. Use headphones, a hoodie to create boundaries.
7. Calendar Control
Remember you are earning a salary in your working from home situation. Stay committed to your timings. Avoid home meet or personal appointments during working hours except during schedule breaks.
Don’t abuse work from home by being unavailable or else you will compromise your professional respect and may lose your job when your company cuts costs of your salary to deal with Corona-triggered challenges.
8. Reschedule Distractions
What were harmless social media distractions at office become deadly productivity killers in a work from home where there is no team to pull you back to work.
Remove social media extensions and switch off all notifications both in your laptop browser as well as on your mobile phone. Switch off your mobile or data or use it only for calls. Keep your coffee and snacks available on your desk so that you don’t get up too often.
9. Cracking Productivity
Don’t expect to be super-productive on day one. Expect the targets to keep a hit while you settle down. To complete the productivity code, schedule the toughest tasks for the morning and calls in the afternoon.
Thereafter standup and take a walk around for 5 minutes, preferably in sunlight and fresh air. Use a track or music list or a background sound on your speaker if it helps you focus.
When you are comfortable and happy, you can enjoy and appreciate the perks of work from home better.
Balance Your Life
1. Physical Boundaries
Create rules and boundaries to protect your personal life from work that may creep into it. Do not carry work away from your desk and do not interrupt social time or family time to complete pending work.
Increase social interactions with your friends to stay away from loneliness and to compensate for lack of human contact.
2. Repetitive routines
Create a day routine just like your work day. Fresh up, change into work clothes, take a 5-mins walk like a work commute and grab your cup of tea or coffee before you sit down.
Similarly, follow end of day routine with shutting and bagging your laptop. These helps you switch between your personal and professional lives.
3. Break Reminders
Short breaks are important for mental balance. At the office, a break comes in the form of a colleague stopping by or a trip to the coffee or tea. In work from home, set up your alarm for regular breaks for foods, coffee, minor chores or simply to get up from your seat and stand for a while.
4. No Phone Zone
Since all your work is going to be through online, the biggest intrusion on your personal life will be the after office hours mail, calls or messages on your mobile phone.
To avoid this, have a no cell phone rule in your bedroom and dining room and consider switching off your data connection during family time.
5. Play the Role
Don’t stay in your “office gear” once your work is done. Set aside your headphones, free your workspace, get into home normal clothes and be fully involve in your normal family chores and activities.
If you are meeting friends or going out for a walk, change into an proper get-up, turn on the right music and let your hairs down.