Working from home was a novelty at first, but it looks like it’s certainly going nowhere for the time being for many workers based in the UK. Considering this, are you doing your best to boost your wellbeing whilst working from home? Here are five suggestions to help.
If you’d like some more tips on how to boost your wellbeing, join our webinar ‘Boost Your Mental Health and Wellbeing While WFH’ webinar on November 12. Click here to register.
Communicate your boundaries
Consider this the holy grail of working from home. If you don’t communicate your boundaries, or confront those who overstep them, you will struggle much more than if you learn how to do it effectively. Communicating your boundaries is explaining to people how you expect to be treated, particularly when you are available or unavailable.
When working from home it’s easy to work more hours than you intend, or work through your breaks, because your colleagues are not around to see you physically working or taking a break. It’s also easy for family members to interrupt your work time if they are unaware of your boundaries.
Setting these boundaries is important because firstly they prevent interruptions, and secondly, they allow you to get a proper break, both of which are important to boost your wellbeing. There are two simple ways you can set boundaries. Firstly, with those living in your house, gently let them know your expectations. If they overstep your boundary, remind them and let them know why they are important to you. With colleagues, you can use whatever software available to you to signal when you are available.
For example, did you know that Skype has a feature where you can display your status from available, to busy, or even ‘be right back’? Why not try communicating to your colleagues in a friendly but assertive way, like: “Thank you for your email. I won’t be able to finish that task tonight because I log off at 5pm, but I will start it tomorrow in the morning as a top priority.”
Challenge yourself to learn something new
We have a natural desire to learn. Learning helps build self-esteem, increases our sense of purpose and can be a great way to connect with others. When you’re focused on a task you’re enjoying, this is called a “flow state”. It activates the release of the chemical dopamine which gives you that feel-good hit and also staves off anxiety, stress and worries. Did you know that lifelong learning can even combat the psychological consequences of ageing by reducing the likelihood of dementia?
Adult learning fosters a capacity to be assertive and to collaborate with others in the workplace. When choosing something to learn, you need to make sure that you’re doing the activity regularly to get the benefits, so make sure you choose a stimulus that you find enjoyable. Learning could be as simple as trying something new, rediscovering an old hobby, or taking on new projects at work.
Create starting and finishing rituals
A lot of people have been feeling as if they haven’t got that satisfied ‘just finished work’ feeling which comes from leaving the office and travelling home – finishing work and already being home just isn’t the same.
This can impact your wellbeing if you then find it hard to either get into work mode in the mornings or get out of work mode in the evenings. The answer? Create starting and finishing rituals which help your brain switch gears. These can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, for example changing clothes or putting your IT equipment away. In my own research, some people even mimicked their old commute by going for a walk around the block before and after work, to signal the start and end of the working day.
This tip seems obvious but it’s easy to stop being active when you’re within the confines of your own home. Working usually involves a moderate amount of movement, especially if you work in an office, for example walking between meetings or going out for lunch.
Research has found that this time allows your brain to switch off so you can be less tired and more productive, and it can even restore your motivation. There are a few simple ways to keep active whilst you’re at home and boost your wellbeing at the same time. First of all, it’s very important to get up and move around every hour or so to help your physical as well as emotional wellbeing. Did you know that standing up for just two minutes every hour is associated with 33% lower risk of death?
Incorporate movement into your work routine by taking calls whilst walking around, going and grabbing yourself a drink or simply stretching. If you want to work out the amount of hours you spend sitting per day then use this free calculator made by Get Britain Standing: The number may shock you!
Curate your work environment
We are not all blessed with the space to recreate our office environment at home, but there are a few simple changes which you can make that will make all the difference to boost your wellbeing and productivity.
For starters, your posture is one of the most important things. Incorrect posture can cause injury and strain which could have long-term impacts on your health. If you don’t have the correct equipment, then there’s no harm in requesting it. We’ve recommended to some of our clients that they send out office chairs to employees working from home. Obviously with each staff member’s blessing!
Another important factor is natural lighting. Low levels of light can actually lower our mood, lessen our productivity and even damage our eyes. Wherever possible, keep your work spot somewhere with plenty of natural light. Finally, natural elements like plants can help create buffers to stress and help you feel more relaxed. Studies have found a positive link between natural elements in a work space and employee wellbeing. I’m not asking you go and invest in a new houseplant collection, but research has found that even positioning yourself next to a window can release frustration and boost enthusiasm about your job, which can have a positive impact on wellbeing.
That’s five easy ways that you can boost your wellbeing whilst working from home. If you’d like some more, join our webinar ‘Boost Your Mental Health and Wellbeing While WFH’ webinar on November 12. Click here to register.