Our NHS People

Routines for working from home

Finally, a word about getting into a rhythm for home working.   For many, used to the daily commute and dedicated workspaces in the office, having to work from home every day has proved disorienting.   Again, a few well-chosen routines to structure the day can help to combat that sense of agitation.

The following tend to be the most useful:

  • Managing and varying workspaces – Feeling confined in spaces which are not designed for the work we do has been a major frustration for many during the lockdown.   There is some evidence that focus and productivity improve if you are able to allocate different places in the home for specific tasks; and many people find it beneficial to use little tricks to fool the brain into adopting work mode, such as getting dressed in normal work clothes; leaving the house and “walking to work”; or turning off social media notifications on the smartphone.
  • Energy mapping – Give consideration to the work you need to complete, the intensity the work requires and whether it boosts or depletes your energy levels. For example, a mindfulness session is low intensity and boosts energy, while delivering a presentation virtually may be draining and intense.  Try to strike a balance throughout the working day.
  • Staying connected – although not everyone finds it an adequate substitute for face to face communication, the use of digital technology has provided real benefits through the period of social distancing.   For many, the quality of communication has actually improved – with more structure, better listening and greater creativity in the way ideas are expressed and shared.  It is important to recognise the positive benefits for the wellbeing of these interactions – well-timed and organised communication through this period will be deeply appreciated, particularly by those who are self-isolating or shielding.
  • Exercise – In particular, aerobic exercises such as jogging, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing can help improve concentration and reduce anxiety and depression 
  • Mindfulness – Being in tune with your body and emotions helps to maintain a sense of perspective and focus, especially during stressful times.  A few minutes out of the day for meditation or mindfulness exercise will have positive benefits for most.