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How to Improve Your Work From Home Routine

Whether your work from home lifestyle is a choice or not, there's still lots to adjust to. Working and living out of the same place comes with a mix of pros and cons, which are different for all of us. Some of us feel like we have more time on our hands, while others may find it hard to switch off. Whatever the home situation, we can all struggle with lack of productivity or inspiration, and general work related stress.

That's where a working structure can really help. It can be as flexible as you like, filled with lunch breaks, fresh air, conversation, and all the things that keep us sane. Read on for our tips on doing just that.

1. Recreate your commute

If before all this you commuted to an office, you'll be used to going outside, entering a work space, greeting colleagues and mentally preparing to knuckle down. You may be enjoying the extra time in bed but a quick run, cycle, or walk to get a coffee can mark the beginning of your work day and help you prepare yourself. You'll also want to do similar at the end of the day. You could take another walk, or simply put your laptop and equipment away. (This is especially important if you're working in the same room where you later intend to relax.) 

2. Tidy your space

Most office spaces will have a team of cleaners to keep them looking nice and clean. At home it's your job to keep your workspace tidy. And that doesn't just mean your desk. If you're walking between a messy kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, it can start to overwhelm you and affect your productivity. 

3. Keeping moving

Whatever that means for you. It could be doing exercise every morning, going for a walk around the block mid-afternoon, dancing to Lizzo every time you tick something off your to do list. You'll want to move around in space too. Depending on your living situation, you could take a call on the sofa or in the kitchen, just to mix things up. If you're low on space, as many of us are, wake your body up by simply having a meeting standing up.

Working from home at The Collective Old Oak A studio room at The Collective Old Oak

4. Plan in breaks

In a standard office scenario you would take breaks. You might even spend 15 minutes flirting with Alan from finance by the coffee machine. At home, recreate those small joys by planning in tea breaks with a flatmates or simply by leaving your phone in the kitchen and catching up on your many WhatsApp groups while waiting for the kettle to boil. You could even set up a break buddy system, reminding your colleagues to take breaks too. 

5. Speak on the phone 

Recent studies have found that the lack of body language on zoom calls, coupled with the constant checking in with your own face, can really drain your emotional energy. Zoom fatigue is real. Emails can be confusing. Slack messages might send you spiralling into a fit of paranoia. Sometimes it's best to pick up the phone. (If you do find zoom taxing, try hiding your own video stream so you don't have to look at yourself.)

6. Fit socialising in around your work 

Depending on local policies around social distancing, this could be an evening meal with a few friends, a family walk in your local park, or a phone call with a colleague while you prep your lunch. Even chatting to the cashier at the shops can help you feel a little more human. We've all had that feeling when we haven't spoken to anyone all day, and it's not a very nice one. 

Working from home at The Collective Old Oak Co-working spaces at The Collective Old Oak

7. Stick to your working hours

When the day is finished the work is finished. You wouldn't pop back into the office after dinner to send an email before so don't do it at home. Same goes for lunch. Make sure you take that lunch break, the full hour, ideally with an outing into natural light. Take yourself away from your emails and notifications, to give your brain a much needed rest from high alert mode.

8. Get off social media

We've all heard how the combination of bright visuals, notifications, and the infinite scroll of social media have been specifically designed to be addictive. With no-one looking over your shoulder you might find it harder than ever to put your phone down. But make sure you do. It won't just affect your productivity but your mental health as well. Try putting your phone in a drawer or another room altogether. And wait until those tea breaks we talked about to check it!

9. Try co-living 

At The Collective, members don't need to worry about separating their working and living spaces: they have access to a whole range of spaces to work in outside of their studio apartments. From quiet libraries to more relaxed lounges, to full on co-working spaces. There's bookable meeting rooms, soundproof phone booths, superfast wifi, plenty of natural light, comfy sofas, spacious desks, food and drink to order, and most importantly, other humans being productive, sharing ideas and getting on with their own work. It's like having a very cool, well equipped office right in your living room.

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