Top tips for working from home by Uncommon founder Tania Adir
As we navigate our way through these uncertain times, it’s perfectly natural to want to hold onto things which remind us of past daily routines, not only for mental clarity but personal happiness and strength to power through. As such, we have asked Uncommon founder Tania Adir to impart her expertise and tips for creating the perfect conditions for working from home during this time.
These tips are intended to help improve working from home during this period so that when the light at the end of the tunnel nears, we are ready to return to our places of work and hit the ground running.
Read Tania’s detailed working from home tips below:
Sounds can influence our mood. Some tracks push themselves into the foreground, hijacking your brain and taking you away from the task in hand; others take a back seat, setting a mood and steering you towards a state of flow without demanding the attention of the conscious mind. If you need to concentrate, go for a playlist that is slower and calmer, with less lyrics as they’re often distracting.
Biophilia, the love of nature, is the connection between humans and the living world around us. House plants, such as Asparagus Ferns or Yuccas, help filter the air, reduce stress and blood pressure, and increase productivity. Keeping a window open will create a flow of air and, where possible, get outdoors for your one form of exercise a day (taking into account the current Government advice).
There is a basic human preference for natural lighting over artificial, and a link with improved productivity. Natural light is crucial to supporting our circadian rhythms, and our research has found that Uncommon members rank natural light higher than flexibility and size of space when selecting an office space. At home, try to position your workspace near a window to benefit from natural light and use softer table lamps, rather than harsh ceiling spotlights or strip lighting.
Smells can have a huge impact on our mood and change the way you think, so perhaps invest in a subtle diffuser or scented candle to provide some background focus. Lemon verbena in particular is known to aid concentration, while scents such as vanilla and cinnamon can help to boost creativity.
Tania is a firm believer of the phrase ‘clear space, clear mind’ and she recommends taking this approach when setting up a home office. Where possible, just have a desktop computer or laptop, a lamp and house plant on show. Dedicate one drawer or box to put pens, diaries, papers and books in, which can be placed under the table or out of sight. At the end of the day, try to keep to the routine of putting everything away and out of sight, so that when you come to your desk in the morning there is no clutter or tidying to be done, and you can sit down with a clear mind and start the day’s tasks.
Take a break
You wouldn’t think twice about going to the water cooler, taking a moment to chat with a colleague, making a cup of coffee or nipping out to get a snack when in the office, so why should it be any different when working from home? In fact, when there is no other mental stimulation around you at home, it is crucial to take a number of breaks throughout the day, and to not feel guilty about it. You need to keep a focused and fresh mind, and this is only achievable with breaks. By taking these regularly, you stimulate motivation, productivity, creativity and help consolidate memories and improve learning.
What to eat and drink
During this period, we are not necessarily governed by time, restricted to working hours or when we can and cannot have lunch or take a break. Essentially, we have all the time in the world and time becomes almost irrelevant. However to maintain a healthy and focused mind we must remember to keep to some form of routine and this includes eating and drinking healthily, including nourishing foods which help with brain activity and ward off any form of anxiety or depression we may be feeling during these uncertain times.
I recommend still treating weekdays as you may have done in the past, perhaps these were slightly healthier, including your three essential meals, and then healthy snacking in between. This then allows you to relax at the weekend and gives you something to look forward to as the week culminates.
Try working in different spaces in the house for different tasks
At Uncommon we use the principles of Activity Based Working (ABW), a method that suggests different activities require different environments. Under this, we designed a range of spaces suited to the diverse work activities required by our members, including relaxed lounge areas, private desks, bookable meeting rooms, quiet floors and a Well Studio, where members can relax, unwind or energise. 78% of our members agree that having these separate spaces positively impacts their productivity and wellness. Therefore, try doing different tasks from different areas in your home, to find what works best for you. Perhaps it’s a more formal desk setting in the morning and then a more relaxed feeling in the afternoon on a comfy chair or in a more communal part of your home.
Don’t forget to exercise… it’s key!
At Uncommon, we encourage our members to get active, move about and take time in their day to exercise, enabling them to temporarily switch their brains off and keep fit. At each of our spaces we have dedicated areas for yoga, Pilates, spinning bikes and meditation pods. The same applies to you at home, more so than ever during this time. We are currently offering a range of virtual workout classes for our members, and many similar online alternatives are available for free to all. Endorphins produced during exercise have been proven to make you happier and reduce any forms of anxieties you may have been feeling. This in turn will increase concentration, productivity and help to aid us through this period of working from home.