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Making your home a workplace

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Changing working environments from a bustling office to your own home can be an unusual transition. Can it impact on your day-to-day working? Or indeed your mental health? We look at what these changes can be and how these can be tackled.

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The Office of National Statistics has reported that there is an estimated 4.2 million home-based workers within the UK. This on average is nearly a quarter of a million more than the previous 10 years and has almost doubled since 1998, when the figure was 2.7 million. It means that around one in seven of these workers works from home regularly.

However, according to TUC, there are still 1.8 million workers who do not have the option to work from home, but have requested to in order to gain a better work-life balance. It’s questionable why these 1.8 million people aren’t being considered as technology allows for agility and flexible working to heighten the ability to feel empowered within your role, and when you consider that legally after 26 weeks you are entitled to ask your employer for a more flexible working arrangement, 1.8 million is a very high amount of people not being able to work flexibly. Obviously, there are some cases in more physically demanding jobs that mean you need to be present in order to carry out your job.

Loneliness and limits

There is a demand from the emerging generation to be able to work from home and feel autonomous and happy within their working environ, but what happens when you start feeling isolated and lonely?

According to UCLA research, accessive screen time can stunt emotional development and can lead to anxiety, insomnia and depression. Most roles that allow working from home in a more flexible way are reliant on working with a computer and therefore looking at a screen. However, you have the power to break up your day and reduce concentrated screen time. This can be done by taking regular breaks, going for a walk, picking up some food from the shops or just actively shutting your screen down every few hours.

Another possible cause for loneliness could be the isolation of working alone. This could be more aligned with personality types, some people work extremely well being cut off from others and resurfacing when they’ve completed a task. Others cannot stand their own company and need to be in a group dynamic to excel in their role. If you are the latter but have to work from home due to certain circumstances you could find a co-working space. This could be a purpose-built co-working space which has become incredibly popular, or it could even be going to a coffee shop for a few hours. J.K Rowling had previously said that she couldn’t write Harry Potter in her flat, it didn’t inspire her so she decided to go to a local cafe where she ended up writing the first few books because she enjoyed the atmosphere.

No matter whether you are self-employed or you in a role that requires you to work from home you can always attend networking events, these could be large live events or very intimate small gatherings for your dedicated field.

Make it personal

When it comes to working from home, personalising your home office can help to unleash creativity and boost morale upon even the most pressurising days ‘at work’. This can be done in numerous ways, you could decorate the space in a way that is totally unique to you. People can sometimes underestimate the impact the colour of a room has on motivation. Colours can boost creativity or make us feel like we are trapped between four, clinical walls – depending entirely on how the colour makes us feel.

Being active whilst working from home is important especially as you’ve lost that element of travelling to and from work and the exercise that entails. Standing desks are a way of combatting a less sedentary work life and encourages more movement. However, recent findings have pointed to standing desks causing lower back and limb discomfort, therefore everything needs to be in moderation.

Social media

Distractions occur everywhere, both at work and at home. However, at home you have to be more self-disciplined therefore if you are someone who is easily distracted then try turning off all social media, it’s a habitual behaviour and once you stop dedicating prolonged amounts of time on social media it will become less intense and less of a drain on your time.

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