WFH: How to Build Structure into your Day
Words by DOSE team for The Sports Edit
Working from home for the foreseeable future? Self-isolating with your laptop in PJ’s might now be the norm. But it’s time to put a plan in place to stop you from feeling quite so lonely or looking like a bag lady. Yes, being able to pop a wash on between work tasks is handy, as is signing for that DPD delivery, but before you know it, it’s lunch time and you’re still in your dressing gown covered in porridge.
Working from home has its perks, once you put some structure into place - answering emails from your bed in your PJ's is not a healthy or productive way of working, no matter what we tell ourselves.
Two women who know this more than most is Shara Tochia and Hettie Holmes, founders of DOSE – a wellness media brand inspired by happy hormones. They know what makes you feel good. A little dopamine for motivation, oxytocin for relaxation, serotonin for self-care and endorphins for the high. Everyone's DOSE is different. Find yours.
Fortunately at DOSE, we’re well versed in working from home. Here’s some tips from our team to help give structure to your day…
KATE, EVENTS MANAGER
Never sleep past 10am, skip a shower, work from your bed or watch TV (it’s a slippery slope). Instead of staying in PJ’s, every day I recommend investing in a working from home ‘uniform’ to separate the days from the nights – loungewear or Nike tracksuits will do, just never something that you sleep in. Plan meals ahead and try sticking to ‘normal’ eating times to avoid accidentally snacking ALL day. If you can’t get out for a walk or to a gym class, then open the window for fresh air. I like to light a fancy candle!
The main thing for me is transparency and trust – it’s super important to take breaks, get some fresh air or go to a fitness class so long as it doesn’t leave you crippled with anxiety at the thought of being away from your desk where you might miss an important email or a crucial call. Communicating with your team the exact time of day you’ll be offline ensures it’s protected and also gives you the peace of mind to enjoy the downtime, knowing that the rest of the team can pick up any urgent work that comes in during that time.
SHARA, CO-FOUNDER OF DOSE
Get up and exercise in the morning to set your brain for the day or have a shower and get changed like you would do usually (into your best clean activewear of course). Work in a different room to where you would usually relax separate from your flat mates or partner. Take a walk to get fresh air and clear the mind. Do something charitable such as checking on a neighbour or an old friend. Get the Peloton 30 day trial or try a 14 day free trial at FIIT. Invite a friend to workout with you on HouseParty– check in on them like you would rely on them turning up to class.
SIOBHAN, SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
On Sundays, I write my to-do list for the whole week, categorised into high priority tasks that need to be done and low priority tasks. Before I start working each day, I choose which tasks I want to tackle and set a timer for how long I want to spend on each, so it makes me focus and avoid distractions from my phone. When I’ve completed my task I will reward myself with a few mindful minutes, where I make a cup of tea before cracking onto the next task that I need to tick off.
LIZZY, BRAND DIRECTOR
Treat every virtual meeting with colleagues like an external one – log on in time, use video so you can still get that human interaction. Schedule in exercise as you would in a normal working day. Thinking “I’ll do it once I’ve just got through these three tasks” can sometimes mean it doesn’t happen. If you can, switch your place in your home at least once during the day, as you would if moving around an office or from meetings to meetings. A change is as good as a rest!
DAN, PROJECT MANAGER
Work in short blocks and have mini breaks in-between. I usually aim for about 45min to an hour of solid work, then have a small break where I’ll either eat a meal, catch up on personal messages or do some housework. It’s amazing how tidy your home becomes when you work from home a lot.
Have a hard stop at the end of the day, usually a specific time, where you close your laptop and say “I’m done”. It’s easy to work longer hours when at home, especially if you’re easily distracted during the day and don’t manage to get everything done. Also, once you’ve finished for the day, have an evening routine that signals the end of the working day, like going to a class or a run, listen to some music or a podcast, or give somebody a call to help you switch off from work mode.
MARTIN, HEAD OF FINANCE
When working from home, keep background noise down if you have calls. Although it’s ever so tempting to have Netflix in the background, you want to make sure you minimise noise interference on those work calls. It’s noisier for those on the other end dialling in, let alone hearing drilling, kids TV shows or even the loud cafe dance playlist.
Plan ahead with home tasks. We know being at home might mean you can run a laundry cycle, cook lunch or even pop out for a lunchtime run. Still make sure you minimise any impact to important tasks and meetings you need to attend and complete. You otherwise run into later working hours post dinner still finishing off something that should’ve been done already.
Take regular breaks. It’s tempting to go non stop on focus tasks now you have less people distracting you in office space, but it’s also important to get up, stretch, otherwise you will quickly get a neck-ache or even numb bum.
Don’t slave all night. It’s tempting to get that email you couldn’t get done out the door at 11pm, but do you really want to set expectations back in office you will later regret. Important emails typically are best sent first thing in morning when they are at top of the recipient’s mailbox and not with a midnight/1am timestamp. Besides those late emails could be prone to sleepy errors or typos as your brain starts to shut down for bedtime.