With the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most of us have found ourselves quarantined or isolated to our homes. A lucky number of us have the upside of being able to work from home, however, if you are not a usual remote worker (also known as telecommuting) then the shift in dynamics can be tough. If you find yourself bored working from home, lonely, or are looking for things to do when you are bored then we have put together our top tips on how to keep entertained and beat the loneliness.
Many job roles and companies now allow you to work from home on a regular basis and flexibility is now a key factor when many of us apply for new jobs. In fact, 76% of workers would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours and a recent survey found that 65% of respondents are more productive in their home office than at a traditional workplace.
However, a balance of remote work and travelling into the office is usually preferred among employees. Most managers and businesses will understand that in recent times, the focus can be difficult and if you are feeling bored or lonely, speak to your manager. If you are a manager, we have a whole blog on one to one questions all great managers should be asking their remote employees. So, with the recent shift, how do you stop yourself from being bored working from home?
Tips on how to stop being bored working from home
When you first started working from home, it was great, right? You’d get up, feel motivated and sit at your desk ready to soar through the ‘to-do’ list. After work, you’d go to another room and sit and watch TV or prepare dinner and it was great.
No long commute home or getting stuck in traffic. But it’s been a week and now something has changed. You’re, well…you’re bored.
There are tonnes of different things you can be doing to ensure that productivity levels stay at an acceptable level and boredom doesn’t completely take over your sanity! Here are 8 healthy tips on how to avoid being bored working from home
1. Plan ahead of time
As boring as it sounds, planning is actually an essential way to successfully stop yourself from being bored working from home. Try solidifying your schedule the day before so that when you wake up in the morning you know exactly what tasks you have to do for the day. Not only will this create structure, but it will also keep you motivated and productive. Make sure you have a working day, the same as in the office.
Get up and dressed as if you were leaving the house, have a planned lunch and make sure you have a finish time to look forward to. With a solid plan set in place, you are less likely to get distracted and it is a sure safe way to mitigate being bored working from home.
2. Go in the garden
So, we know that this will only apply to employees who actually have a garden. But if you do, then make use of it! Take your laptop, coffee, and notebook outside and get some fresh air.
Being confined to your house can make you feel isolated, not to mention bored. Usually, we would recommend getting out of the house and going to a coffee shop, however with the Coronavirus pandemic, this is just not possible.
Sitting in your garden for an hour or so each day to get some work done is the next best thing and can split up your day so you’re not confined to your desk for 8 hours straight. Having a dedicated workspace and setup is a good idea, however, you don’t have to stick to this space vigorously.
It’s OK to get up and move about if you feel like a change of scenery – even if that is just from the living room to the garden. Not only is fresh air good for your health, it will also give you more energy and a sharper mind to stop you from being bored working from home.
3. Listen to music
If you don’t own a Spotify or YouTube account, now is the time to sign up! Finding some new tunes and having music on in the background is a great way to keep you from losing your mind from boredom.
We each have our individual tastes in music be that rock, hip hop or rap. However, certain types of music can increase efficiency and productivity. Huffington Post asked the question ‘does music really increase productivity?’ and outlined 5 types of music that we should all be listening to when remote working.
- Classical music was found to increase concentration on the employee’s work
- Nature music enhance cognitive function and concentration
- Epic music can empower and lift you up
- Video game music is excellent as the compositions are designed to enhance your gaming experience
- Ambient soundtracks will relax you if you are feeling stressed out working from home
Maybe not so much in the mainstream music tastes but give one of these genres a go and test out which works better for you. Remember, the more focussed and productive you are on your work, the less likely you are to be bored working from home!
4. Home workouts at lunch
According to a Harvard business study, regular exercise is a key factor in our work performance and can have cognitive benefits such as improved concentration, a sharper memory, faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity and lower stress. Not to mention getting a good dose of exercise in your daily routine releases endorphins and increases your serotonin levels.
There are so many great at-home workouts that you can do that require minimal equipment and only take 30 minutes to complete. Getting a good workout in at lunch will not only stop you from being lonely working from home but will actually leave you feeling refreshed, energised and ready to get stuck back into work for the afternoon. So get them tunes ready, slip into some comfortable gym clothes and get active!
5. Start a new hobby
Is there something you have always wanted to learn but just never had the time? Well, now we are quarantined to our homes, use it as the perfect opportunity to get creative and learn a new skill! This could be anything from knitting to yoga to learning a new language. Learning a new hobby in the evenings means you will have something to look forward to after work other than ANOTHER episode of Friends or The Office.
With the rise of YouTube tutorials, we can pretty much now learn anything from the comfort of our own homes. Not only will this stop you from being bored working from home, but you will also get a new skill out of it. You can even join internet forums and get connected with people who are learning the same skill and ask more experienced people for advice and techniques.
6. Use conferencing tools
On top of being bored working from home, a lot of remote workers report being lonely working from home. Online meeting software like Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are a fantastic way to stay connected with your colleagues. A great idea is to hold daily morning check-ins with your team to make sure they are feeling OK and to discuss what they will be working on.
Slack is also a great way to keep in touch with your team members via messaging. Working from home doesn’t mean you have to be alone! Right now, everyone is in the same situation and probably feeling the loneliness a bit more than usual. Stay tuned in and give your colleague a call for a catch up if you’re starting to feel alone.
7. Make plans for the evening
If you’re really bored working from home, then a good idea is to make plans in the evening. That could be practising your new hobby, going for a walk for some fresh air or downloading the house party app to have a chat with friends! This will give you something to look forward to during the working day.
We may be social distancing but that doesn’t mean we have to be anti-social. Give your friends and family a call in the evening to check in.
8. Have the TV on in the background
As long as it’s not super distracting, then it’s a good idea to keep the TV on in the background. There is nothing more boring than working in complete silence. When you’re in the office every day, I’m sure your work is broken up with little chats throughout the day or even hearing your colleague chattering away on phone calls to clients can be comforting.
Having a TV show quietly in the background will mimic these everyday interactions and can actually make you more productive. Sitcoms like The Office are great to run in the background as they require little focus and have a fun, positive atmosphere.
Bored Working from Home Recap
So, there we have it. All the top tips to help you with ideas of what to do when you are bored. It can be tough but hopefully, these tips will help see you through the oncoming months. Remote working can be great for flexibility, especially if you’re an entrepreneur however boredom will certainly kick in at some point.
But as long as you’re trying your best, and keep your mind at peace, you’ll be fine. A huge benefit to working from home is that you can stick to your own learning style, cut costs and even try new things. So remember our 8 tips on how to avoid being bored working from home:
- Plan ahead of time
- Go in the garden
- Listen to music
- Workout at lunch
- Start a new hobby
- Use conferencing tools
- Make plans for the evening
- Have the TV on in the background
If you stick to all these then you should feel more motivated during this isolation period and remember we are all in the same position!
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