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It would be fair to say that life has become difficult for so many of us since this pandemic and we are all trying to stay as positive as we can be. Covid-19 has changed us in many ways, and we are all trying to catch up to adjust to a new lifestyle.

Saying goodbye to long commutes and journeys, some of us quickly took up the change of working from home but not everyone sees this in the same light. With schools closed, many of us are not only juggling to work from home but are also immersed with the responsibility of home schooling and this can have a serious effect on our mental health.

Our valuations manager, Simon Walton, has provided us with his insight to working from home and here is what he has had to say.

“working from home has its benefits but its can be difficult. With no commute, a very different and distanced interaction with your colleagues, you are sat at your desk by yourself and of course, at the end of the working day, you are where you are, at home where you started off in the morning with little else to do under current lockdown restrictions”

So, what can we do to manage our expectations of working from home?

Routine and Schedules – Let’s face it that working from an office helps us stay in check. We can differentiate between personal time and work time and once work stops, we can look forward to going home and relaxing. Without these schedules and routines in place, we can, so easily, forget a sense of normal routine.

Make sure that you get up at the same time you normally would, have a healthy breakfast and since you are saving time from a commute, use that time to exercise, listen to music or read. Try and leave those comfy pyjamas and get dressed!

I know from first-hand experience that working from home can sometimes feel that as you are saving time on commute you can add an hour onto work but remember as soon as work stops…you stop! Focus that additional time you have saved by preparing a healthy dinner, going on a walk, or just relaxing. Make sure you get yourself into bed in a routine manner too.

Sometimes its not bad to give yourself a break - I, of course, realise that this must be hard for parents who are home schooling. Working with a baby or older child is never easy and you will always want to focus on their needs.

“I know I’m lucky. I have my family at home with me. My wife, my daughter, who has not yet returned to university and my son who is home schooling. But we all need and must make the effort to make a break from a daily routine which is not what we are used to.”

So, what do you differently Simon and how are you coping?

“I walk my dog in the morning and evening to ensure I keep myself busy. I read in the evening, or tinker in the garage or practice soldering (ready for my next project). I have my bike; I’ve always enjoyed my road cycling and now more than ever it gives that break from routine. So, over the weekend, even though it was freezing, I layered up and got out on the bike. By myself of course but that did not matter. When I got home, I felt “normal” in as much as I was doing what I always did before. I felt refreshed and recharged.” 

Stay Connected – While working from home has its perks, sneaking off to the kitchen for cheeky snacks, or making a lunch that is healthy, or making that perfect cup of tea or coffee, it can be quite daunting and isolating.

Instead of emails, why not pick up the phone and speak to your colleagues. If you feel that working from home is taking a toll, remember to speak to your managers and highlight your concerns. Speak to co-workers on how it feels, and you never know; they might just feel the same.

Why not have a day in the week or two days in the week where you socialise virtually with that cup of tea or coffee and biscuits and talk. It does not have to be out work and it can just be about what you miss about the office environment.

Boundaries – While working from home or home schooling is inevitable, you should try and encourage to set boundaries. Children will not fully understand what is happening out there, so it would be easier for them to think you are on holiday and would want to spend time with you. Set them tasks to do but ensure you can still provide them the guidance they need. They are also struggling as much as you are.

Avoid unnecessary distractions like the TV and set the office up, if you can, in s quiet space where you are free from distraction and can focus on work.

Boundaries also work the other way! Remember, when your work stops, you stop!

Be kind to yourself – It is ok to not feel ok. To feel overwhelmed, to be concerned and above all to not know how long this is going to go on for.

Remember to be kind to yourself and not be harsh if you do not feel motivated some days. Its ok! There will be days you feel tired and exhausted but remember that your colleagues, friends, and family are all in the same position as you. Remember to communicate! Talk to people on a regular basis and express how you are feeling.

We hope in these trying times, our posts will help in some way. Remember the key points; Keep to routines but give yourself a break time to time and be kind to yourself. We are in this together.