How do we work from home more productively?

Thursday 4 July 2019

As more of us work remotely, I speak to Psychotherapist Matthew Alderton on how we can continuously work from without slacking

According to the Office for National Statistics more and more of us are remotely working, whether it's from the coffee shop or at home. This figure is set to continue to rise and estimated that half the workforce will be remotely working in a couple of years.

As well as those remote working, many more are turning to freelance work. As freelance digital marketer myself I'm often working from home. Some days this is fantastic mainly as the environment is familiar and comfortable, and I can keep my flexibility. But on other days it can be a struggle without the formalities. So can I have the best of both worlds and get The flexibility of working from home but the routine of going to work?

To understand how, I spoke to Matthew Alderton, Psychotherapist at The Trauma Practice:

Why is it important to set work boundaries at home?

Working in an office has set boundaries. We leave home, we travel to work and when we cross into a working environment, we put our working persona or game face on. We might work at a particular desk or have to put on safety gear at a building site. When we are working from home these boundaries do not exist. Our home environment is used for leisure, sleep and personal relationships.

Do we actually like routines?

In order to remain mentally healthy, we should put in similar boundaries if we work at home. We might have a separate room we work in or allocate a specific time for starting our day or having lunch. This is important because although we might sometimes feel this is restrictive it tells our mind and bodies what we are doing and when. We actually like routine and boundaries. It gives us a set of guidelines in which to function. Getting up at the same time is needed when going to a nine to five job. At home this boundary can be lost quite quickly. Getting up at different times each day disrupts our circadian rhythms. This is our physiological twenty-four-hour cycle which helps determine our eating and sleeping patterns.

How important is it to have a separate study/office room?

Our brains also learn unconsciously. This means that we pick up on our environment even if are not fully conscious of it. This is demonstrated by poor sleep hygiene. If for example, we use the bedroom for working or using a laptop our brain stops associating that room with sleep. Going to sleep at night in an environment we have used for work gets more difficult. This is the same for working on the sofa. We stop associating it with relaxation. We can become less sure on how to respond to the environment when we are mixing up the experience of work and play.

What are your top tips for working at home?

  1. Set yourself a goal for the day that you can stick to

  2. Start and finish at the same time of day

  3. Create your routine

  4. Have a lunch hour

  5. Take a short walk outside

  6. Have designated workspace

  7. Signal the end of the day by going for a walk, having a shower or changing your clothes

  8. Create a to-do list.

This post was written by Cambridge Freelance Digital Marketer, Ryan Davies.

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