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Tags: blog, Wellbeing

With a soar in remote working since the pandemic; there is no denying the impact on our day-to-day lives and mental wellbeing. Whilst 56% report an increase in happiness levels when working from home due to benefits such as flexibility and a better work-life balance, other adopters experience setbacks in communication and collaboration, with 60% feeling less connected to colleagues. 

Have you become accustomed to home working and experience low productivity on the days you’re in the office due to distractions? Or perhaps feel disconnected from your team and struggle to stay motivated when working from home? With no sign of traditional 9-5 office work returning, here are our tips for making the most out of hybrid working amid Mental Health Awareness Week.

 

Plan your week and be consistent

Choosing which days you plan to work in the office and home will help you create a routine that provides structure, clear expectations for your manager, peers and clients. To help you do this, it’s a good idea to first understand which schedule is best for you. You’ll be in a better position to benefit from hybrid working if you know which environment will help you maximise certain tasks. For most people, work isn’t a single task; it requires collaboration, problem solving and communication. For example, you might find that you need to work from home when you have tasks that require a large amount of focus, such as report writing and project planning. It might also make sense to work from home when you have a day full of meetings, and save time on commuting. Working in the office is likely better in-person workshops, collaboration sessions and training or when you have new team members. Tools, such as Trello or Todoist can help you plan effectively.

 

Re-create your office environment at home

Working from home in less than ideal environments, with laptops instead of monitors, low desks, chairs without arm rests or back support and often sofa / bed working can have a negative impact on health. According to a 2021 survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public, 26% of respondents said they were working from a bed or sofa and 39% stated that they had developed musculoskeletal problems as a result of working from home (Royal Society for Public Health: Mental and Physical impacts of working from home). Makeshift office set-ups can impact productivity and create long term health conditions. Here’s some tips on creating a cost effective, working space at home:

·       Try and allocate a dedicated working space, this will help create a distinction between home and work life.

·       Reduce clutter and make the most of what you have, maximise space by storing paperwork in folders.

·       Invest in the right equipment; your desk should be the right height to ensure that your computer monitor or laptop is eye level. Having a mouse, keyboard and monitor will help prevent neck and arm strain helping you to feel much more comfortable when working.

·       Use a chair that provides support, if buying a chair isn’t an option then try and choose one which is of appropriate height for your desk and provides lower back support. This will help to prevent a ‘hunched’ posture and musculoskeletal problems.

·       Choose an environment that helps to create a positive atmosphere, natural light and engaging décor will help to boost productivity.

Eliminate distractions where possible

Whether that be noise in the office, home or distractions from colleagues or family, it’s important to try and minimise disruptions to help maintain focus. If you share the space with others, you could work out a schedule to allow for quiet periods or politely request quiet time during certain times.

Other distractions include notifications on your desktop or mobile - silence notifications or set time aside to catch up with these during your break or after work. 

Eat the frog

No matter where you are working from, one of the best pieces of advice to increase productivity is to ‘Eat the frog’. As Mark Twain said: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” 

Metaphorically, the frog is that one thing you have on your to-do list that you are avoiding. This simple ‘Eat the frog’ method allows you to make progress with something meaningful on a daily basis, spend less time procrastinating, and use the remainder of your day to focus on other tasks.

Remember, we are all human, and some days we are less productive than others. On these days, refocus your energy and implement the above tips. Once you find what works for you, you’ll be amazed at how much more accomplished you will feel, both in and out of the office. Read our other Mental Health Awareness Week articles here.