According to the latest Finder.com report, there are currently over 23 million adults working remotely in the UK. Many speak positively of their experience.
- 65% of workers claim to be more productive in a home office
- 66% of managers observed higher performance among remote staff
- 83% of employees say they don’t need to be at work to be productive
The average national daily commute length of 59 minutes means that remote workers recover almost five hours of free time per week. Brits are also saving around £179.12 per month on relinquished lunch and travel expenses. Conversely, the Finder studies have revealed potential drawbacks to working from home.
- 30% of remote workers suffer from loneliness
- 62% of telecommuters want better technology that helps them stay connected
- 22% of employees struggle to separate home and work life
It certainly doesn’t help that depression levels have doubled since the pandemic began, while the Royal Institute for British Architects found that staying at home made some respondents anxious, depressed, and stressed.
So, are remote workers doomed until they can return to the office? Of course not. You might just need to make a few adjustments. Read on to learn how you can stay positive while working remotely or from home.
Let in Light
Chances are that coronavirus isn’t going to sneak in through your windows. Therefore, it’s a good idea to push the curtains aside and let in as much natural light as possible during the day.
Both sunlight and fresh air are beneficial to mental health. The former prompts your brain to release serotonin, which is a hormone that helps you feel calm, happy, and focused. Opening your windows can provide a cognition-enhancing oxygen boost and prevent stuffy atmospheres.
Going back to sunlight, consider how you can bring more of it into your home. For instance, it may be possible to place your desk near a window. Make sure to clean the glass on both sides, as dirt can significantly reduce the amount of light passing through. Here are a few more ways to increase natural light:
- Install skylights
- Paint walls in lighter colours
- Use mirrors to distribute light
Your brain is always attempting to identify sounds and analyse changes in volume, which can be distracting when you’re trying to focus on work. How it affects you largely depends on the type of noise.
For instance, low and consistent babble might only distract you when it ceases, while sharp noises can grab your attention as they arise. Part of the effect is based on what the sound means to you. Construction work might be more difficult to ignore than equally loud traffic noise, for example.
The key is to avoid stressful sounds that are picked up by parts of the brain called the amygdala and hypothalamus, which in turn activates your adrenal glands and raises blood pressure. If you find yourself getting distracted by sounds that are beyond your control, consider earplugs, headphones or a white noise machine. Other suggestions include:
- Absorbing sound with soft furnishings and heavy curtains
- Installing under-carpet boards or replacement ceilings
- Adding window shutters (without cutting off too much light)
A messy or unorganised room is no good for mental health. Your brain recognises clutter as conflicting stimuli, which in turn raises cortisol levels and leaves you feeling stressed.
Clutter is essentially visual noise that causes over-stimulation as our brains work overtime to push away irrelevant signals. You need to balance your cortisol levels and ensure that they don’t become chronically high. Too much of the stress hormone is linked to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and headaches.
For most people, it only takes less than a day and fairly little effort to complete some impactful decluttering. Start with your home office by getting rid of unnecessary items and assigning a ‘place’ for the things you use on a regular basis. It may help to invest in storage systems to keep certain possessions out of sight.
Remote working can cut away a significant chunk of your daily physical activity. Perhaps you’re no longer walking to the bus stop or to the cafe for lunch. Even forgoing less strenuous tasks like walking through corridors to attend meetings can impact your health.
If the morning commute currently comprises moving out of bed and into the kitchen, you’re probably missing out on vital physical activity. It’s well-known that exercise has transformative effects on mental wellness. This includes:
- Relieving anxiety and stress
- Increasing energy levels
- Boosting mood
- Enhancing sleep quality
Naturally, being sedentary for too long has the opposite effect on these factors. Working out at home can be challenging, but it’s far from impossible. One option is to pick up a standing desk. Another is to spend your breaks walking or practicing a basic stretch routine. There are countless other ways to stay active. For instance, you can:
- Follow guided exercises with videos or fitness apps
- Incorporate more physical activity into cleaning
- Walk around when taking calls
- Try a new hobby like gardening
Place More Plants
Decorating your living space with indoor plants is associated with numerous benefits. This includes improving mood, concentration, and creativity. Plants are also said to reduce stress and fatigue. Beyond mental health, they add life and visual interest to sterile rooms, absorb airborne toxins, and raise oxygen levels.
It’s worth having plants around purely for the sake of having a productive way to give your brain a break. They can shift your focus and help you relax without demanding your attention.
Keep in Touch
Finally, it should go without saying that social contact is paramount to overall well-being. Most of our conversations tend to happen in the workplace, which means losing those valuable interactions can have a negative impact on mental health. Make sure to allocate enough social time with friends, family and colleagues throughout the week.
We know that remote work can be challenging. The last sources of stress anyone should deal with are problems with the hardware and software you use on a daily basis, as well as all-too-common cybersecurity risks.
Remote IT Support providers like WFH IT Support can mitigate these factors and help you stay focused on what matters most. If you’re interested in learning more about the services we offer, please get in touch for a no obligation chat with our friendly team about your remote IT Support requirements?