With many of us working from home due to the lockdowns, it can be tempting to reach for our laptops and work from the comfort of bed – but this is detrimental to our work-life balance, says Dr Sophie Bostock. Here, she explains why having a set routine will not only help us work effectively but sleep better, too.
Separate work and rest
While working in bed can be tempting, you want your brain to associate your bed with sleeping and intimacy, not work. Working in bed blurs the boundaries between the two, making it harder for you to switch off and thoughts about work are more likely to persist.
To avoid this, try creating a workspace where you can focus exclusively on work. This doesn’t have to be an office environment – it can be in a spare bedroom, in the kitchen or at the dining room table. Think carefully about where you want to work – have you got access to a desk or a table which allows you to maintain a straight back? A standing desk also offers a great alternative and can help boost your concentration and productivity.
Creating this physical space also helps create a mental shift, helping give you a sense of routine and reducing potential distractions.
If you are social distancing in an open-plan flat or studio, it's still worth creating boundaries between work and rest spaces.
This could mean keeping a different bed cover or cushions on the bed to disguise it during the day, changing the position of the bed at night, and changing the lighting - so that it's bright by day, but with dim light from lamps at night.
Get some daylight
Keep your energy levels up by working next a window, if possible. The best work environments have plenty of daylight as sunlight is a natural mood booster and helps keep you feeling motivated and refreshed.
Exposure to natural light during the day, especially in the morning, also helps to fully wake up your body clock, so that by night-time, your body is ready for sleep.
Take a break
Take a breather. Rest your eyes. Just because you are at home, doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to breaks. The key to remaining productive is taking as many breaks as your normally would in the office. Just five minutes away from your screen can work wonders.
Communication is key
While working from home can have its benefits, it can be very lonely, too. Make sure to check in with your colleagues by email or instant message. Skype is another great tool and can be used for group calls if you are feeling isolated. If you don’t already have one, why not start a group chat with your colleagues and keep them updated with your working-from-home routine? Communication is key and keeping in touch with your workmates will help boost morale in these unprecedented times.
Have you got any tips or tricks that help keep you motivated while working from home? Let us know in the comments below.