Working from home during lockdown certainly has its benefits, but improved mental health is generally not considered one of them! When you work in the same environment, you spend your day to day bleeding into each other. Social contact is starting to become a distant memory, and the desire to spend all day in your PJs is strong.
This is not only bad for your health, but also productivity.
Of course, this is drastically exaggerated during lockdown to see when you also now lack the opportunity to go out in the evening!
Read also: Work from home with children: Work life balance for WFHers
This is not only bad for your health but also productivity. Without the right balance it can be extremely difficult to stay focused and productive.
Fortunately, as someone who has been working from home for the past ten years, I have developed some tricks to find balance. Hopefully, these can help you learn how to work from home during lockdown and how you can generally survive sitting at home for most of the day. Every day.
Get social contact elsewhere
I am something of an introvert, which has led me to enjoy being away from home all this time. But even I quickly learned that I needed some social stimulus if I was to find out how I would work from home and stay … well, normally.
The solution for me was to meet friends and family during lunch breaks. Since I was free to travel while working, I would work in a cafe close to one of these friends, and then we would have lunch when they were on their break.
Also read: How to video chat with family and friends on your smartphone
I needed some social stimulation if I was to find out how to work from home and stay … well, normally.
It won't happen during lockdown, but you can  call your friends and relatives. The little social contact is better than nothing, and what better time to do it?
You can and should take the time to meet friends online for meetings. Playing a few rounds Drawful 2 over Skype with a glass of wine is almost as good as having a board game night with your friends at your place.
This little stimulus will make sitting in front of a computer all day seems much less repetitive and helps you stay focused. If you want to know how to work from home, you must know how to unwind first.
Take time off
This may seem like a weird time to take a vacation, but it can actually be a very useful option to keep you and your family sane during lockdown. A staycation can give you the perfect time to work on home projects, spend time with family or just relax.
If you struggle to work from home, it will reduce the time you need to spend doing it, while also breaking up the long monotonous stretches.
Also Read: Top 12 Online Home Office Tools
And if your family is struggling with the lockdown, they will benefit from having you around. You may very well find that your partner can use a little help with caring for the children, or that your wife who can't work from home can use some distraction!
One of the things that bites most about lockdown in general is having to cancel all your plans. Holidays, weekends and time to visit friends are now all the time. Again, this affects your ability to work from home when you lose the "light at the end of the tunnel" to work toward.
Therefore, it falls to us to be more creative when it comes to plans. This is also another great way that we can keep our loved ones sensible.
Some examples of "things to look forward to" that you can plan around the home include:
- Board game nights
- Meals outside by candlelight
- Theme dishes
- Sleeping in a tent in the garden
- Movie nights
- Purchases that provide activities (eg a telescope that you can then use to launch your gaze, a VR headset or a trampoline)
- Long (socially distant) walks
Take out your diary and Book for a few fun days to try new things, move and spend time with your family.
Starting a side project
If you are learning to work from home for the first time, you should find that you actually have a little more time to be productive. This is because you have dropped your pendant and you will have fewer distractions around the office (no more water coolers gossip).
Once you become self-disciplined enough to stay on task, this can give you plenty of opportunity to do more than is required of you. This is where you then get the freedom to start developing yourself to improve your career.
Read also: Setting up a home office: How to separate your work space so that you remain productive
It may mean that you gain additional skills by taking a course, or it may mean working on something kind of side project. A side project can give you focus and a sense of progression when everything else seems to have stopped. As an example, I am currently working on a book with a publisher. This is extremely rewarding and helps me feel that I'm making meaningful progress, even though I'm trapped in the house.
There are high chances that you have heard how bad sitting for long periods of time can be for you: your heart is weakened by a lack of exercise, your shoulders are rounded, your hip flexors become hard and your general mobility and energy levels are dropping.
It is true if you work in a normal office. Now imagine how much worse must be when you also lose the commute! If you spend all day stuck at home in front of the computer, you absolutely cannot simply spend your evenings in front of the TV!
Fresh air and sunlight are extremely good for you – in fact vitamin D is considered to be significantly better for your immune system compared to vitamin C. In addition, exercise many great benefits to your mental ability, provide immediate improvements in focus, creativity and problem solving.
My advice is to go for a walk to get the fresh air, but also try to get in on a training session from home. This way you maximize the activity and movement you get throughout the day and avoid the many harmful effects of being still all day.
Also read: How to work with a partner at home and not kill each other
Learning to balance activity with productivity is key to learning how to work from home.  Vary your surroundings
I mentioned earlier that I used to work in cafes near my friends office so we could hang out at lunch. This not only kept me social, but also ensured that I was not constantly stuck in the same four walls.
Also Read: How To Stay Common Working From Home
This option may no longer be available to you at home during lockdown. But that's not to say you can't move a little! While you mainly work from your desk, there is nothing to stop you from taking your laptop to a couch when replying to emails. You can even do some work outdoors!
And you will be amazed at how much you can do on a tablet today. By moving you will keep your blood flowing, avoid boredom and even prevent some postural problems that will be fixed in place.
Discipline  But none of this will work unless you can also develop the type of discipline that working from home requires. In order to find balance, you must ensure that you work for set hours, but also get free time to relax and unwind. That means you can't spend half the day postponing, and that means you can't stop working in tomorrow's small hours.
This is a skill in itself, but you can find some tips and advice in a previous post, so read this next:
How to focus on the job when working from home