Working from home: How to make the most out of it!
Do you like working from home? What are your best practices when it comes to working from home - to stay productive and focussed? It is very common in the Netherlands to work from home, especially now, in these turbulent times where the world is fighting the infamous coronavirus and companies are choosing to be “safe, rather than sorry” and sending their people home to work from there.
Up to 37% of the workforce in the Netherlands, so up to 3,3 million employees, reported having worked from home at least one day a week last year (mainly on Wednesdays).
Working from home has many benefits - avoiding long commuting times, doing some home laundry and being able to spend more time with your family and kids. On the other hand, working from home has its downsides as well. Many of us struggle to concentrate or we ﬁnd ourselves focusing on household tasks and not getting anything work-related done at the end of the day. Or we get so absorbed by work that we forget to take breaks and recover.
So, how do you strike the right balance? What can you do to get things done and enjoy your home comfort without overdoing it? As a mindfulness and wellbeing instructor, here is some of the advice I give to my customers - busy working professionals - to help them maintain an optimal home-ofﬁce balance:
Motivate yourself with a healthy meal
One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to take the time to prepare and enjoy a nutritious healthy breakfast (lunch). What will be your choice: a porridge bowl of oats, fresh berries, banana, and nuts - for your brain to function well; a herb omelette with tomatoes for more energy or a fruit and veggie smoothie for an immune system boost? You can plan this meal the night before and reward yourself by taking a 15-minute break for a mindful and healthy meal.
In Eastern cultures, every meal is considered to have a deeply healing impact on the body and mind. So, when you eat - fully focus on the taste in your mouth, rather than on your projects and plans, enjoying your meal, instead of chewing on the worries and concerns in your mind.
Know your MIT for your work and home priorities
After having indulged yourself with this heart-warming and energising breakfast, you will have enough mental energy to work on the most energy-consuming task - planning and prioritising. Many of us make the wrong choice and drown in emails - losing our precious attention and the headspace that should be used to ﬁnd out our MIT at work and at home.
MIT stands for Most Important Task (of the day / week) - this is something that requires time, deep dive into it for 2-3 hours. At work, this is a task or a milestone that matters in your job, that helps you deliver what you were hired to do. MIT at home is something that enables you to recover and maintain your work-life balance, such as a good night's sleep, exercise for your body’s vitality or time with your family and loved ones to establish a deeper connection with them.
When you know what your MITs at work and at home are, and you have reserved the time needed for them in your schedule, you will feel much more empowered and in charge of your own agenda and mailbox.
Recharge your battery every 1,5-2 hours
We may fall into the trap of working non-stop when we are at home - no one interrupts us, no one drops by for a one-minute question or an invitation to grab a coffee. So, we may end up working for 3-4 hours without a much needed and well-deserved break. Our peak brain activity only lasts for 1,5 hours and once we start running low on fuel - it takes twice as long to get things done.
We need a 15-20-minute break to recover our mental energy and attention. This means that you need to set an alarm clock every 1,5-2 hours to get up and move - grab a cup of your favourite tea, walk outside for some fresh air, fresh perspectives and some “me” time that you are entitled to at home.
Turning on the TV or getting lost in social media is the opposite of “switching off” your brain, so avoid it at all costs. Instead, have a cup of tea alone or with your family and have a meaningful conversation to recharge and connect, focusing on non-work-related topics.
These simple, yet practical and impactful strategies will help you make the most out of your working from home experience. So, the next time you are working from home – try to design and put into practice your own “home ofﬁce” routine with recharging and rewarding rituals! Do you work from home often? Let us know in the comments!