Working from home during a winter lockdown

We’re fairly sure most of you have been working from home for quite some time, giving you the opportunity to adapt your workspace and home comforts. However, as the weather turns colder by the day and the mornings and evenings remaining a little gloomy, maybe it’s time to introduce new practices to make working from home as comfortable and productive as possible?

Don’t get us wrong, there are plenty of advantages to working from home in the winter months… No commuting in the cold and wet weather, cosy work attire and of course staying safe in the current pandemic. However, it’s integral for your professional and personal wellbeing to adapt to the seasonal changes to maintain a healthy working lifestyle.

Why not try these small changes to your daily working routine, to stay motivated and healthy throughout the winter lockdown?

Get some fresh air

Ok so we know how difficult it is to leave the comfort of a cosy bed to venture out in 0-degree weather in the mornings, but if you do want that extra time in bed why not use your lunch break to stretch your legs and go a short walk? From boosting energy levels to reducing stress and improving concentration, getting out in the fresh air throughout your working day has many benefits. And with many of us not doing the usual commute or visiting the gym, it’s important to substitute your previous activities with some new practices to help your physical and mental wellbeing.

And once the workday is finished, you will have plenty of time to relax, cook your favourite winter meal and catch up on reading or a new Netflix series. Getting your exercise in early or on your lunch will allow this time to yourself and you won’t have to think about venturing out in the dark to get those steps in. Don’t let cabin fever take over. You will feel better for it, we promise!

Stay warm

There is nothing worse than getting a chill from sitting in the same position for too long, it is therefore extremely important to keep moving regularly throughout the day and make sure you’re wrapped up warm!

We know how tempting it may be to simply crawl out of bed and start the day cocooned in pyjamas and a dressing gown, however this can sometimes cause people to feel unmotivated and catch a chill. Start your day as if you were going into work to fully wake yourself up and feel prepared for the day ahead. Invest in some super comfy loungewear for working from home (let’s be honest, we’re not going anywhere anytime soon!).

The great thing about working from home is you can adjust the temperature just as you like it, without any workplace politics about how hot or how cold the office is! However, to keep those bills down, it’s essential to layer up with cosy socks and an extra jumper to keep you warm for the foreseeable.

Request flexibility

If you’re working the usual 9-5 Monday to Friday, you may want to consider requesting a more flexible working structure with your manager. After all, with these shorter days still around many of us have limited chances to enjoy time outdoors during daylight. Perhaps a flexible schedule, with a couple of hours free throughout the day, made up by some evening hours will help you reach your daily exercise goals or accommodate personal commitments such as home-schooling or caring for family.

Stay connected

Dare we say the ‘Z’ word… After recent announcements across the UK, we are all now experiencing the new restrictions in place, similar to lockdown 1.0. Perhaps it’s time to reintroduce regular Zoom catch-ups with your colleagues that may have dwindled off throughout 2020 or set up a Microsoft Teams chat to boost employee momentum and keep everyone connected whilst working from home. This will help combat loneliness for employees who may live alone, by improving online team interaction and inclusivity.

You may have heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which is a type of depression people experience throughout the winter months, adding yet another struggle for colleagues and employees during an already tough time with the ongoing pandemic. Keep this in mind when chatting to your co-workers to ensure the whole team remain supportive and understanding of everyone’s circumstances.

Adjust your set up

To increase your exposure to natural daylight and switch up your surroundings, perhaps its time for a move even if that’s just shifting your equipment to a different room or adjusting your workspace for a change of scenery. Moving your work set up nearer to a window could be a small yet effective step to enhance motivation, thanks to the increase of daylight you experience and even just a nicer outlook other than the wall!

With the mornings still gloomy and the daylight disappearing early evening, those working from home may want to invest in a couple of warm lamps to brighten up the room and workspace. It’s amazing how quickly your home can be filled with light one minute and pitch dark the next – focus on maximising the light around you to reduce the chances your motivation slipping when the sun goes down (during work hours of course!).