Working From Home Tips

Finding the move to home based working a challenge? See below for top tips to help negotiate the ‘new normal’!

Having adjusted to the new learning formats necessitated by the pandemic, many students have come up with unique strategies and coping methods to manage these circumstances. However, achieving a healthy work-life balance has been particularly difficult for many of us, as well as getting used to doing most work on a computer. Here are a few helpful tips for coping with both issues!

  • Create a study space and work free areas

Find an area that you distinguish as a work-only zone — maybe a desk or a specific place at the dining table. Try not to use this space for any other activities, e.g. don’t have dinner in the same seat if you work at your dinner table. Having a dedicated space will ensure you only associate your chosen area with work, motivating you while you’re there, and helping you relax once you leave. It is very important to establish areas where work and study never go. So, if you use a desk in your bedroom to work, you should not take work outside of this zone and elsewhere. This differentiates the spaces designated for winding down and relaxing once you finish your work for the day.

  • Transitioning between work and home mode

Usually setting an alarm, getting dressed, and commuting to university would set apart study and home time, but without the option to attend campus in-person, this separation is less distinctive. Finding a ‘transition’ activity that you can do to go from home and work mode (and vice versa) can be helpful. For example, going for a short walk, meditation, or stretching when you’re finished for the day. Try to keep the activity the same every day; it can mimic the daily routine you would have when traveling to university whilst also providing you with a crucial refresh.

  • Regular screen-free breaks

From checking emails to sitting in hours of online lectures, a lot of home working involves the monotony of a screen and tired eyes. This can cause difficulties for some people, with headaches being a common issue. Many use their study breaks to check their phones/social media, but it is also important to pull yourself away from all kinds of screens. Why not get a hot drink? Look out of the window for a few minutes? Do some people watching? Meet a friend on a break? When organizing your work, having physical calendars or handwritten notes can also help you break away from the strain of technology.

  • Blue light filter

The blue light that computers and phones emit can be the cause of headaches and migraines for some. Scientists have suggested that this can even disrupt sleep. Most smartphones have a ‘blue light filter’ mode — this will add a warm yellow filter to your screen and help to prevent the issues caused by blue light. While some laptops don’t have this feature, even just turning your brightness down can provide some relief. If you are really affected by blue light, it might be useful to invest in some blue light filtering glasses. These have yellow-tinted lenses which cancel out the blue light from your screens.

  • Seek social interaction

Seeing faces in online seminars is not equivalent to in-person social interaction. Whilst the process of studying from home can feel full-on, possibly sending you to bed for an early night, make sure you don’t neglect to meet friends, family, or academics outside of online spaces. Not only is it a good distinction from work, but it is also great for your mental wellbeing. Enjoy the lifestyle that comes alongside full-time study and make memories!

Hopefully, you found these tips helpful, and don’t be afraid to explore other strategies and find what works best for you.

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