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Striking a balance when working from home

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Published: 22 July 2020

Striking a balance when working from home

The Health and Wellbeing Manager at the University of Sunderland in London, Nancy Bradley is back. This week, she’s giving us advice on finding a work-life balance in a time when those boundaries are blurring. Read on for tips and tricks for finding routines, structuring your time, taking breaks and more.

“In this ever-changing ‘new’ world we’re constantly having to adapt to different ways of living and working. Many of us are now studying or doing our jobs from home and have been for months. 

It’s important to recognise that, for a lot of people, remote working has been a positive change from the once ‘normal’ routine. We have more time to spend at home, fewer expenses for things like travel and, at times, more flexibility.

But this change has also brought with it some difficulties we need to adjust to. A lot of the time it can be hard to find motivation. Feeling disconnected from others is to be expected. So it’s important to have a balance between home life and work life.

Stick to a routine

We are creatures of habit by nature. We do well when we have routines. So clearly separating your weekdays from your weekends can help to change things up and stop your days blurring into one. Try to stick to a ‘work’ schedule and an ‘out of work’ schedule. 

Going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, getting showered and ready and going for a walk in the morning can help set you up for the day ahead.

Structure your time

Working from home can mean you’re responding to emails straight away. That can be difficult when you’re trying to prioritise your tasks and motivate yourself. Consider blocking out time in your diary for when you can reply to emails. 

That way you can tackle what you need to, but also have some variety in your day.

Take regular breaks

Think about how much time you would spend making a drink, taking a walk, or going on your lunch break under ‘normal’ circumstances. When we’re working remotely, there is a tendency to over-work. People feel that they need to sit in front of their computers all day to be productive.

Let’s face it though, that’s not only a difficult thing to do, but it’s not very pleasant either. Plus it can lead to you getting less done over the long run. So don’t feel bad for stretching your legs.

Remember support

A social network, even in small doses, is good for your wellbeing. It’s important to maintain connections with your colleagues where you can. You could try doing fun things online with the people you work with. Give online quizzes or virtual coffee mornings a go.

How to end the day

Have a clear point where you stop working. Make sure you properly ‘switch off’ by preparing for the next day. Make a list of the tasks you need to do, tidy away your work things and turn off the devices you no longer need.

Overall, remember to be kind to yourself. It’s important to practice self-compassion. The times we’re living in are hard enough without putting yourself under extra pressure.”

The Health and Wellbeing team are here to support you through your whole student journey. If you need advice or guidance on a wide range of issues, book a one-to-one meeting with them today. Get in touch at londonhealth@sunderland.ac.uk or call them on 0207 531 7343.

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