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How to work from home - tips from the experts

Sustaining motivation can be tough under the best of circumstances. And at the moment that challenge can seem even greater as many of us are under pressure to ensure that our clients, students and teachers benefit from our usual level of support and service, all the while striving to create a boundary between work and home. Let’s face it, it’s not surprising that you might be feeling a little stretched.

So, with that in mind, we’ve put together some practical working from home tips to keep you motivated and maintain good mental health. We hope you can find some new ideas, resources and inspiration to help you stay positive and focused.

 

 Practical tips:

 

  1. Mimic the commute

 

I can hear you all screaming “Why??? Missing the commute is literally the best thing about working from home!”. I don’t mean go and jump on the tube, I mean wake up around your usual time and try to get a bit of physical activity in to mimic the walk to the station. Try to get out for a 5-minute walk around the block before you start work (if you live in a quiet neighbourhood and can observe the 2-metre rule). This will get fresh air in your lungs, get your body moving and sharpen up your mind for the tasks ahead.

 

If you don’t live in a quiet neighbourhood, try a quick high-intensity interval training (HIIT) work out app. It’s not as horrible as it sounds, it’s super quick (around 7 minutes) and beats a coffee to get you going in the morning! Check some apps out here.

 

  1. The Pomodoro Technique

 

This is a time management technique developed by Francesca Cirillo in the late 1980s and is perfect for managing your working from home routine. Here are the steps:

 

  1. Identify your tasks for the day and make a list
  2. Select your first task for the day - if you’re very busy, it’s a good idea to prioritise in order of urgency
  3. Set your timer for 25 minutes
  4. Get to work! Avoid all distractions and, focus
  5. Stop when the timer goes off
  6. Record your progress on your list
  7. Take a five-minute break – get up, move, take your mind off work, eat an apple!
  8. Get back to work and repeat the above steps
  9. After the 4th Pomodoro (25-minute chunk) take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes

 

If you’re wondering about the name, the timer used by the Italian creator, Francesco Cirillo, was in the shape of a tomato…ah the good old days when you didn’t use your smartphone for everything!

 

  1. Mentally close the door to your working day

 

Just like you would when you’re actually at the office, have a little routine that will help your brain switch off from work and on to your personal life, for example; make a list of tasks for tomorrow, clear your laptop/working area away, wash up your mug, say bye to your colleagues on Slack, Teams, WhatsApp etc, have a shower and change your outfit.

 

Maintain good mental health:

 

The following recommendations have been identified by Psychology Today magazine as being the most crucial in maintaining good mental health whilst working from home during these troubling times:

 

  1. Maintain a routine – wake up at the same time every day, work in the same area, have breaks at the same time etc.

 

  1. Do not do overtime. Clock in and clock out at your usual time

 

  1. Use video chat and conference calling – it’s so important to actually see your colleagues’ faces every day to maintain connections and relationships. Something we’re all doing at PLS – see photo above! 😊

 

  1. Take breaks – your brain and eyes need regular chunks of downtime

 

  1. Move around – stretch your legs, make a cup of tea, etc.

 

Finally, time for some more expert advice, and this time from the team at PLS! We asked everyone to share their tips to stay motivated, check them out here:

 

“I force myself to do some physical exercise outside every day, even when I don’t feel like it and when I don’t like the actual activity much. Anything is better than no exercise at all, and really helps to get a decent sleep.”

 

Crispin, Managing Director

 

“Stop reading the news and those crazy figures! Wait for the good news, it will arrive. Look up at this beautiful sky, free of planes and think how great this is for the fauna and flora all around the world! And consider how good you will be at IT (if like me, technology gives you palpitations)!”

 

Delphine, Account Manager

 

“Remember all the challenges you have been through in life - this is just another one to overcome. 

Time will pass quickly - try doing things you wanted to do around the house and didn't have the time to do before (except bad DIY..!). 

Do everything slowly - our pace of life is too fast and this is the opportunity to slow down and reflect.”

 

Bridget, Assistant Director of Studies

 

"When I'm teaching online, I make sure I spend time at the start of the lesson connecting with my students to make they're doing okay. I do this in the target language for speaking practice, but also to assess whether someone is feeling down and might need my support - it's all about using your emotional intelligence."

 

Anna, English teacher

 

“Having a schedule still is really important, I still like to get up at the same time and exercise and have dinner at the same time. I feel it helps keep a sense of familiarity, which is important with the changes.”

 

Callum, Administrative Assistant

 

“Try to mirror your normal daily routine as much as possible, make to-do lists, take coffee breaks, speak to colleagues regularly about non-work-related things.”

 

Bryony, Account Manager

 

“A positive effect this situation has had is that I spend more time with my friends and family than before; in video calls for an online chat, tea break, drink after work… No ‘social distancing’ here!”

 

Gerett, Academic Manager

 

“For motivation I recommend setting daily goals every day and reviewing them at the end of the day to see how much you have achieved and feel proud of yourself!

Oh - and also Candy Crush (the original) is giving unlimited lives at the moment - it's a great way to switch off!”

 

Josh, Assistant Director of Studies

 

“I think we need to be flexible and able to adapt to the current situation. However, I find it very helpful to set up a balanced daily routine so I spend some time working, doing some moderate exercise, talking with my family and friends over the phone or Skype, cooking and doing some enjoyable activities like reading a nice book or/and watching a film.”

 

Mari Cruz, Language Centre Manager

 

That’s it from us, let us know if you want to share any tips that are working for you, get in touch here : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Stay safe everyone, from all the team here at PLS!

 

References:

https://www.creativeboom.com/tips/tips-on-working-from-home-how-to-stay-motivated-and-sane/

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