A psychologist and a WFH seasoned pro weigh in.
Just like any new routine, working from home will take you some time to adjust. Perhaps you’ve already settled into a kick ass routine, or maybe you’re still juggling the day in your pjs, frantically fixing your makeup for that Zoom call? If you fall under the latter, it’s time to get organised. As Tahlia Crinis, founder of Boss Media PR will explain, working from home shouldn’t be about settling into lazy Sunday mode. And she should know – Tahlia’s worked from home for close to three years, citing that it takes a lot more than just a phone and a laptop to get into the right routine.
Good chats to Tahlia, a seasoned WFH professional, along with Lysn psychologist Noosha Anzab, about what it takes to get the WFH routine right.
GET DRESSED LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO WORK
Working from home in your pjs all day sounds like an absolute dream for some, however the truth is that not getting dressed might actually set you back for the day. Tahlia says that wearing pjs all day makes her mind slip into ‘lazy Sunday mode’ whether she is conscious of it or not.
“There’s definitely something to be said about making the distinction in your work day and using your clothing to signify what you want to achieve. We all know how clothes can make us feel and taking the time to put effort into our appearance really can work wonders on the way we approach life. Just put on a power suit and you’ll automatically understand how that can affect your attitude and motivation in the best way possible!”
Psychologist Noosha Anzab agrees: “Getting dressed is actually better for your work mode mentality because it signals to your brain that the day is starting and gets you into the right headspace. What you wear has an impact on your psychology, so it is also wise to dress for the occasion. It might sound like a lot of extra effort, but research has identified a series of psychological changes that occur when we wear certain clothes. It has been proven that the clothes we wear can affect our behaviour, attitude, personality, mood, confidence, and the list goes on. Important business meeting? Still wear that suit! And while it’s important to dress appropriately for work, it’s also just as important to change out of your work clothes at the end of the day into something more casual. This again signals to your brain that your work day is over and it’s time to relax.”
EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE
The benefits of exercise have long since been touted by experts the world over, so it’s no surprise that it should become an integral part of your work from home routine. Noosha explains that “besides the obvious physical benefits that exercise can have, getting the heart rate pumping will improve levels of concentration, enable you to learn quicker, enhance creativity, lower stress levels and provide mental stamina. If you can get some exercise in at the start of the day, even better because it will get you in the right mindset for the entire day.”
Tahlia agrees: “Whether it’s a brisk walk, a gym session or some time spent on the yoga mat, starting the day with some exercise has been an essential part of getting the work from home routine right. Yes, sometimes it might feel like the last thing you’ll want to do, but I’ve learnt that it’s the best possible habit to get into. The trick is to get your workout clothes on no matter what, even if it’s a leisurely stroll around the block, it will always put you in a better headspace.”
TAKE THE TIME TO SET UP YOUR WORK SPACE
For many of us, working from home is somewhat a forced luxury as a result of COVID, however we have to accept that it is the way of the future. For many businesses, employees will continue to work from home regardless of external factors, citing economical and employee benefits. Therefore, setting up a permanent workspace that is conducive to productivity is vital. Tahlia knows only too well what can happen if you don’t.
“There was a period there where I got into the habit of working on my laptop from bed. It was winter at the time and it felt like a clever way to be productive in comfort! However, what started to happen was that it began to affect my sleep. I was having trouble dozing off at night and then waking up at all hours thinking about work. Needless to say, this made for a less than productive work day each day.”
Noosha explains this further: “Working from bed instantly associates your bedroom with work, meaning that it can become more difficult to fall asleep since your brain will think you’re in a place of work. By doing that you’re essentially blurring the boundary between sleep and work which is never a good thing! It is incredibly important to take the time to set aside an area in your home that is your workspace. Set up a desk with a comfortable chair, add in a plant and decorate the space to make you feel clear headed and organised. A workspace can actually determine your motivation, efficiency and productivity so take the time to tailor the space to work for you. If you can, also use some natural lighting as studies have found that exposure to natural light is linked with better sleep because your circadian rhythm is not disrupted by artificial lighting.”