Business

How To Stay Positive While Working From Home

By Julia O'Driscoll
18.03.20

From our homes to yours... like many companies, Eco-Age has taken the difficult decision to work remotely for the coming weeks. We're focusing on staying positive - here's how.

 

In the last week or so, many businesses around the world have made the difficult decision to move to remote working during this period of uncertainty. At Eco HQ, both in London and Milan, we’ve packed up our desktops and moved to our kitchen tables, bedroom desks and (in brief moments of sunshine!) garden deckchairs.

So far, our experiences have been mixed. While we’ve been able to continue much of our day-to-day goings on as usual by staying connected through virtual meetings and chat updates, the impact that we’re all beginning to notice has for the most part been on our wellbeing. When you’re used to working in a supportive office filled with laughter, suddenly finding yourself no longer surrounded by 20 colleagues (but really, pals) has been a little disconcerting, to say the least.

Before we locked up on Monday, we had a chat about how to stay positive and connected through the coming weeks. Part of this included agreeing to stay in touch through our hashtag #EcoTogether as a way to support our online community, and other parts included more practical tips and advice from our separate experiences of remote working. And, of course, if you want to take a leaf out of Livia’s book, then a daily dance session can do wonders for getting your heart rate and endorphins up too!

Hopefully these tips will bring a little light-relief to your day. It's going to be a slow few weeks, so start being kind to yourself and putting positive practices in place. And if we can help, let us know. Share #EcoTogether if you need a little boost right now. 

 

Sophie Parsons makes WFH work for her, minus a desk

 

Limit screen time

Those face-to-face interactions that punctuate the day are becoming fewer and far between, as meetings and lunch breaks with colleagues have become digitally-dependent. Our screens have become a lifeline. Yesterday, I charged my two phones four times - that’s a lot of mobile activity! So, whether it’s half an hour of reading, a disconnected cooking session or a quick walk around the park, plan in periods to clear your mind a little from the unending news updates, virtual chats and whatsapp messages of support.

Structure your working hours

Switching off at the end of the day is usually something I’m somewhat of an expert in but when that no longer includes actually leaving the office, it becomes a little more difficult. Logging off from the multiple communication channels that make remote working possible can also be a little disorientating when your daily social contact is suddenly limited. 

Our Chief Finance Officer James recommends putting on your jacket and taking a purposeful walk each morning, lunchtime and evening, as if you were walking to your nearby station to begin your commute. Punctuate the day with physical activity to refresh.

Create your space

I pictured a two-screen setup, filter coffee on tap, fresh flowers and a pretty plate of biscuits that refills itself hourly to snack. In reality, I don’t have a desk. Suddenly, four housemates are huddled around one wifi box and we’ve brought the garden furniture in so no one is working from the sofa. This, I think it’s fair to say, is unsustainable.

 

 

However, the flowers have been bought. We’ve introduced hourly tea runs, and are making the space we have work for us. If you live communally, have an open conversation about everyone’s requirements and how best to make an unideal situation work in the coming weeks - maybe try to approach this with humour and camaraderie. And if space isn’t the issue, curate your clobber to create a work space that is clutter-free and productivity-positive.

Try different techniques

When distractions are aplenty, staying on task can be tricky. Try different ways of working to see what suits you best. 

The Pomodoro Technique is a good one to test out. The idea is simple: set yourself a task to work on for 20 minutes, then take a five minute break (enough time to make a tea, have a quick wander, check your phone). Then repeat three more times. After your fourth ‘pomodoro’, take 25 minutes for yourself. Go for a walk, make some lunch, call your mum - something that will really break up the day. It’s a handy way to break up your to-do list into manageable chunks, while keeping your mind refreshed and alert.

Get dressed

Simple, yet effective. I’m a big believer in the power that clothes have to impact your mood. So, if you feel so inclined, take a little time to rediscover your wardrobe. Dig out a jumper you haven’t seen for a while or a dress that’s a little too fancy for the office, anything that can bring a smile to your face.

 

Charlie Lally puts the team to shame in her WFH look

 

My findings so far? The meme is true - the optimal WFH outfit is a pair of pyjama bottoms with a smart shirt. Go for pearls to accessorize and a headband for added interest. Bed socks and birkenstocks are the perfect pairing to finish off your LOOK. Lipstick, optional.

Chat IRL 

Virtual chats are everything right now. Having grown up with MSN, getting back into group chats has been like riding a bicycle. However, it’s no replacement for real conversation and connection. We are still calling in for our 10 o’clock meetings to check in with one another, and making the most of opportunities to speak rather than type. Even if it’s a five minute chat at lunch, giving a colleague a quick call to check in can make all the difference.

 

Livia Firth writes a letter about #EcoTogether.

Read inspiring journeys in sustainability to inspire you. Try Doina and Niomi Smart for starters...

How To Stay Positive While Working From Home