My ‘Working Day’ is Rapidly Becoming a Mindset Rather Than a Location
Our Active Workplaces lead, Aaron Harverson, muses on the monumental shifts in workplace norms as a result of the pandemic, and how what we mean by our “working day” may be changed forever.
My ‘Working Day’ is Rapidly Becoming a Mindset Rather Than a Location: What do I mean by that?
I used to say to people that your working day is ‘from the moment you leave your front door in the morning, until the moment you get home again’. I said this so that people would start to associate how they travel to and from work, as a potentially quick and easy way of getting a bit more movement and activity in their working day.
Now, with more people working from home than ever before, that sentiment isn’t quite as accurate. I live in a small flat where my workspace is also my living space. Like so many people, I have been working from home since the very first lockdown and I no longer get my 30-minute walk to and from the office each day.
As I could no longer change my work location, I decided to try and change my mindset. I needed to get myself into ‘Work Mode’.
What is Work Mode?
For me, work mode is when my brain shifts into thinking primarily about work, what I need to accomplish for the day and how I am going to be as productive as I can.
That mindset–switch used to happen to me the moment I sat down at my desk in the office. So without that unofficial subconscious mind-shift, I was worried that I would struggle to focus on work and as a result become less productive. So I did what most people would do in a modern day crisis, I Googled it.
Here are some of the tips that I have found, along with some of my own personal tips (through trial and error) that help get me focused for the day ahead.
How I get into work mode:
- Keeping a morning routine: I’ve found that keeping a consistent routine helps me better prepare for work more quickly and greatly reduces any potential stress or anxiety. I get up at the same time each morning, as if I was going to the office as normal.
- Turning my commute time into activity time: I make sure that I get out for a walk before work every morning, whatever the weather. If it’s raining, no worries – time for my waterproof coat and wellies! A walk before work can help unlock multiple health benefits and improve attention, thinking and creativity. Perfect for the day ahead.
- Creating a clear Work/Home separation: Create yourself a designated workspace within the space you have available and try not to blur the lines. This will allow you to better associate the bedroom for sleeping and your designated work area for work. If your workspace and your living space is the same place (like me), clear away your work equipment each night or keep it hidden from view as best you can.
- Save the comfys for after work: I make sure I wear clothes that I associate with going to work, to help keep me in that productive working mindset. The only caveat here is make sure you wear clothing that enables and encourages movement throughout the day. I’ve seen other people describe this as business attire above the waist and practical clothing below. Find what works best for you.
- Changing the room lighting: Lighting has become a big thing for me recently and this is one of the changes that I have found most impactful. When im about to start work, I turn on the main room lights during my working day. When I finish work for the day, the main lights go off and the ambient lamps go on.
- The same music playlist: If I have a clear day with very few meetings, I’ll often have some quiet music on in the background. To help keep me focused, I rotate between the same two or three playlists, so that I learn to associate those playlists with work. I pick instrumental music (without singing), so that I don’t get distracted by singing along. My current favourite Spotify playlists are Lo-Fi Beats and Classical Relaxation.
These are just a few of my personal tips on how I have improved my focus and productivity whilst working from home. For a few more tips on how to productivity work from home and to maintain a healthy work/life balance, the NHS website also has some great tips.
Please contact Aaron Harverson via the firstname.lastname@example.org.
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