The rise of flexible working is fantastic for many people. It allows us to take into consideration commuting, costs, families, pets, health and wellbeing… and the list goes on!
But the thing is, it can be challenging for some people. And that’s okay.
Sometimes I am required to work from home. I thought I would love it, but actually, it can be harder than I thought.
Yes, I get quiet, clear head time, with no distractions in the forms of colleagues or impromptu meetings, and the introvert in me adores the solitude and chance to really get stuck into what I’m doing.
But, equally, as someone who has to actively manage their mental health, working remotely can be really challenging.
So, with that in mind, what tips do I have to help you stay well mentally when working flexibly? Here are a few I’ve found helpful.
1. Take Mini Breaks
When working in an office, you naturally take more mini breaks than you realise; making tea, having a quick chat with the person opposite, looking out the window, even simple things like going to the toilet or walking up and down the stairs.
When you are working flexibly, particularly from home, those breaks can sometimes disappear.
Don’t let them! Still make the tea, take a walk downstairs (or upstairs), have a Zoom or WhatsApp chat with a colleague for a few minutes. It’s okay and it's important you do.
2. Talk to someoneI have found that on the days I work flexibly, sometimes I barely speak to anyone. I say goodbye to my boyfriend in the morning and I don’t speak again until he comes home again (minus a few words to the dog at lunchtime, but conversation isn’t his strong point).
Can you imagine going into your office and not speaking to anyone all day?
No. Neither can I. But it happens to me when working remotely on a regular basis.
So, schedule a phone call, or a catch up, or just walk to your local coffee shop on your lunch break and speak to the person behind the counter. Speaking of which, that brings us to tip #3…
3. Get Outside
When you physically go to work, you have to leave the house. When working flexibly, and specifically from a home office, it can be tempting just to stay inside.
So, you roll out of bed, stumble into the kitchen, then boot up the laptop and get going. Lunch comes and goes and suddenly, it's clocking off time and you’re ready for your evening.
That means a whole day can pass without you ever stepping out your door.
It is much better for you to schedule time to go outside, even just for five minutes to get some fresh air. Change your scenery. Look at the sky or what’s around you, or watch the wildlife from your back garden, rather than the same four walls all day.
4. Eat ProperlyIt can be tempting to snack throughout the day, knowing there is an unlimited supply of food and drink nearby, whether you are at home, or working in a café or similar.
However, it is important to pay attention to what you are eating and remember to take your dedicated lunch break. That is a specific time for you to relax and unwind away from your screen.
So, make sure you build in structured time for food and be sure to let the siren call of the fridge fall on deaf ears.
5. Get Up and Feel Day-Ready
The idea of being able to work in your pjs might feel like a tempting one, and though it might feel like it doesn’t have an impact, it does.
By getting up and getting ready the same as you would for any other working day, you set your mind’s expectations about your day and start it off right. Like having access to your fridge all day, just because you could work from bed, doesn’t mean you should. Instead, dress yourself for a day’s work and see the positive impact it has on your mindset.
Also, by being up and dressed, it means you’re more likely to do tip 3. So, it’s a great idea all round.
Of course, there are no universal rules that can be applied to our individual situations. We are all different and face different challenges associated with our day.
That being said, I hope that at least one of these tips might help you experience remote and flexible working as it should be; as a positive and productive experience.
Want to chat more about virtual working, introversion or mental health? Drop me an email; email@example.com.