The colder months are setting in and the days are getting shorter. Commuting in the dark is no fun but working from home provides its own set of challenges.
Okay it may be raining but if it’s a nice day, especially one of those crisp bright days, get outside. Take your lunch break and go for a quick walk. It’s horrible to be cooped up inside all day but during the winter it’s not always tempting to venture out. You’ll get a dose of Vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and muscles. The total hours of daylight is proven to be linked to mental health and many people suffer from lower moods and an increase in anxiety in the winter months. In these dark days it’s vital to get every drop of sunshine we can. Many people choose to buy a light box, specifically designed for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and if you know that you suffer during winter it may be worth investing. If you have flexibility in your working day why not take a 2 hour lunch during daylight hours to fully take advantage of a sunny day and work that extra hour in the evening?
Coughs and colds
Working from home does not mean that you can’t take sick leave. Most remote workers carry on through with a snivel but if you’re really ill you’ve got as much right to be tucked up in bed as an office worker. Let your manager know as soon as possible so that support can be found or schedules adapted. Many remote workers feel embarrassed about taking a sick day but it’s better to be honest than to pretend you’re fine and then miss deadlines. Those who escape a whole winter without a cold are very lucky and good boss will understand.
Dark mornings and nights closing in are not conducive to high productivity. Sitting in front of a blue glowing screen in the dark all day is not ideal but it’s the reality of billions of office workers in winter. Make your space as comfortable, tidy and organised as possible. Try to take tasks away from the computer if possible. If any jobs involve brain-storming or mapping out a new system why not take yourself away from the screen with a good old pen and paper. Even it’s for 20 minutes a break from the computer can perk up the brain cells and keep you on your toes.
Keeping up a healthy regime
The walk to the gym becomes less attractive and the pie and mash becomes very tempting. That’s how winter works. There’s no reason that hearty warming food shouldn’t be healthy too – hot porridge, chunky vegetable soups, a delicious stew etc. but it takes a bit more preparation if you’re eating in. Why not make a soup for the week’s lunches or have tasty meals in the freezer ready to microwave before you decide to pop out for a pasty. Remember to keep hydrated too. It’s obvious in summer when you haven’t drunk enough but in winter it’s far too easy to forget. Make sure you have water on your desk. Instead of turning up the heating why not do a quick jog on the spot. Get the circulation going, warm up a bit and get your brain in gear.
Plan for the evenings / weekends
Somehow in summer, social life just seems to happen – the BBQ, local outdoor events, sports etc. In winter it can all disappear and before you know it you haven’t seen friends in weeks. Make sure you have things planned – it can make the week of work seem so much more worthwhile. Dinner out on a Friday night with an old friend, cinema with the spouse, a long country walk and a pub lunch, a football match or a visit to a gallery. It doesn’t matter what it is but leaving the house is really important. Plan at least one event for the coming weekend so you don’t start Monday morning after 48 hours of Netflix. Winter is also the time for a city break – whisk off to a new destination, wrap up and experience the delights of travel.