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How to stay motivated when working from home

COVID-19 is significantly affecting jobs and businesses across the country, and working from home has been one of the biggest changes for most people. If you’re an employer, it’s never been more important to support and motivate your team, and if you’re an employee, now is the time to put things in place to make sure you are able to be as productive as possible throughout the working week.

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These are the top 10 things that Ruth, our Recruitment and HR Specialist, likes to do in order to keep her head in the game when she’s working from home:

1. Get dressed and be ready for a prompt start

Mornings where you don’t shower, do your hair, and present yourself well are more likely to lead to longer lunches, lengthy breaks on the sofa, and unproductive days. Whatever you normally do as part of your morning routine before travelling to the office, keep that up when working from home.

2. Tidy workstation equals a tidy mind

Whether you’re working from the kitchen table or your home office desk, make sure you have your own space to work every day so you can get in the mindset of being productive, and make sure you keep it tidy ready for the next morning.

3. Keep a work diary

This one might not be for everyone, but it definitely helps us at Convolo. We like to write a weekly ‘to do’ list, choose 3 things from that list to act as our daily objectives, and keep track of the work we’ve done for the day. You may have your own task management system that your team use instead, but if you don’t, you can easily create your own one like this.

4. Take regular breaks

No matter how much work you have on, or how much pressure you are under, make sure you are taking your allocated lunch break plus morning and afternoon breathers. If you can, include other people in your household who are working from home, or ask a colleague if they fancy a virtual coffee break so it doesn’t feel like you’re working on your own.

5. Eat healthily and exercise regularly

At the start of lockdown a lot of us were eating a bit too much junk food and drinking a little bit too much wine, but now is the time to get back to our healthy habits to keep our minds healthy too. Make the most of being able to prepare and cook food where previously you may have had to take advantage of supermarket meal deals. We’re also massive fans of using the time we used to spend commuting to and from the office on exercising or meditating.

6. Talk to your manager regularly

We can’t emphasise this point enough; if you have a problem or a concern, pick up the phone and ask your manager. This is often the best way to ensure you are getting the support you need, even if you’re asking “Did I handle this work problem well?”, it’s perfectly okay to ask! We would also really encourage you to speak to your manager if you’re concerned about job security as a simple conversation could give you peace of mind or the information you need to make the right decisions for you.

7. Enjoy a change of scenery*

If it is safe to do so, pick up your laptop and any documents you might need and head to a local cafe or restaurant to work in a different environment. Or if you can’t leave the comfort of your own home, set your workstation up in a different room for the day. This could really improve your productivity and help to mix up your week a bit.

8. No hangovers

Don’t take working from home as an excuse to stay up late every night or indulge in a few too many drinks because “nobody will notice.” Remember, you are still working and need to be professional at all times, not to mention that getting into bad habits is likely to negatively affect your mental health.

9. Limit social media activity

Having your phone on your desk with group chat notifications displaying on your screen every 10 minutes is really distracting. We can easily waste hours of the day on our phones when we are supposed to be working, especially with no colleagues or managers around us. Mute your group chats, put your phone in a drawer, or set up a social media restriction on your phone to help stop this.

10. Don’t watch too much news

It's an unsettling time and understandably everyone wants to keep up-to-date with what is going on in the world, but we think it’s perfectly okay to limit how often you watch or read the news. This is even more important if the news makes you feel anxious and affects your productivity at work. Some people limit themselves to once a week, some people to twice a day, do what is right for you but make sure you are not obsessing over it.

If you are managing a team who are working remotely and want to make sure you are offering them enough support to stay motivated, we have created a COVID-19 Resource Pack that you can download for free here. In this pack you can find a sample letter advising that a temporary period of homeworking is to continue, a sample assessment checklist for remote working, and our 15 Factors of Employee Engagement guide.

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* If you are considering working in a different environment, always abide by government guidelines and ensure you have consulted your local authority regarding the rules for the area you work in. You should always consult with your manager before working remotely in another location especially if you work with sensitive information and are using public WiFi.

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Convolo Personnel is a trading name of Veritrec Recruitment Solutions Limited. Veritrec Recruitment Solutions Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales with registered number 0914​4304.

Registered office address: Wittas House, Two Rivers, Station Lane, Witney, Oxfordshire OX28 4BH

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