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In March, we posted about our 9 Tips For Working From Home. Now, 12 weeks later we are still working from home and, following the recommendations of our state government, will be here for at least a few more weeks.
With this experience comes more knowledge, so we’ve revised and updated our working from home tips to share some of our practical experiences. As a team, we have worked hard to adapt, keep connected, and stay merry and we hope everyone else is finding positive moments during this time!
Set your alarm clock* to rise at the same time each day and set some normal morning rhythms.
The flexibility of working from home allows you to set your own hours a bit more and find when you work best. For some of us, that has been a later start after a relaxing morning at home, and for others, it means starting at 7 am with coffee and emails and finishing earlier. If you have kids, maybe you are finding that working in bursts around your kids' schedule is working better than forcing yourself to work straight 9-5.
*We highly recommend using an actual alarm clock rather than your phone. When you use your phone, it becomes too easy to go straight into emails, news, and social media. Allow your mind and body space and time to become present into the day.
After you wake up (and ideally before you check your phone), get some movement. Take a walk around the block, do some yoga or pilates, or smash out an indoor cardio HIIT session.
For some of us, morning exercise still doesn’t come naturally, so we’ve found that working from home allows us more flexibility to listen to our bodies’ needs. This may mean a long lunchtime walk or an afternoon workout session. These alternate times not only break up the workday but can provide a nice energy boost for the mid-afternoon slump!
As tempting as it is to wear your pyjamas all day, it helps to dress the part. After your exercise, take a shower, brush your hair, and put on work clothes. Shoes are optional, but we’ve been staying warm and merry in our boots as the weather drops in Melbourne.
That said, you are at home so the definition of work clothes is relaxed. Some days you may feel like a nice dress, and on other days you may go for joggers and a cozy jumper. It's your choice now!
If one thing has become abundantly clear over the last 12 weeks, having a good at-home workspace matters! We are spending more time than ever seating, so making sure we have an ergonomic and clear set up is vital for our productivity and health.
A few weeks into our working from home experience, we had a team video call with Shiv, a local physical therapist. He taught us about our postural muscles and the best way to engage and support those muscles when seating. Sure, it is easy to slouch into a chair and lean over a laptop, but that does you no favours in the long run. With his advice, all of us brought our work chairs home (with their nice lumbar support!), positioned the chair height so we could have our arms at a 90-degree angle for typing, and elevated the screen to sit at eye level. Emma and Katey even got exercise balls for alternative seating that would challenge their core muscles!
Minimizing distractions was hard at the start, but has gotten easier as we all settle into a groove. As we come into winter in Melbourne, sometimes doing home chores during the day - liking hanging out the laundry - is the best (read: sunniest) option. But, keeping the personal notifications on silent, reducing how much news and social media we consume, and hiding TV remotes is still helping to make working from home easier.
Getting outside every day has been crucial to our work from home routine! Whether it is a morning run, lunch walk, or evening stroll, spending time in nature is necessary for our happiness.
Again, the flexibility of working from home allows us to structure our day to get outside a bit more when the weather is nice without sacrificing our productivity.
Staying connected to our team has been a huge priority at Merry People! We have scheduled twice weekly catch-ups as a team, then multiple one-on-one meetings between team members. It's not the same as turning the chair around to ask questions, but the video calls have helped us feel engaged with each other.
We have also started guided monthly meditation and visualisation sessions. This has been a great tool to calm the mind and step back from any stressors.
Initially, we advised trying to schedule in meals and maintain healthy habits with meal prep. This has been somewhat a success! Dani has been enjoying having the time and space to cook more and prepare more delicious lunches for her and her partner. For all of us, working from home has allowed more time to grow healthy habits.
Don’t forget to drink water! Aim for 2L of water before 2pm (This is one of our fav rules for life).
Wherever you are working in the house. Close your computer at the end of the work day! Shut down your “office” the same as you would when away from home. If you can, maybe go for another walk to simulate your commute and allow your mind to reconnect into its home space.
For those that are still working from home, or working a mixed schedule, we hope that these tips and tricks help a bit. Please remember, these are just ideas and ultimately, it is about finding what works for you. That may mean having breakfast at 10am, going for a run at 3pm, and then finishing up spreadsheets after dinner when kids are asleep. You get to write your schedule, making this a great time to slow down, listen to your body, your lifestyle needs, and honor your goals and intentions.
Stay Merry everyone!
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