Upcoming pieces of work

Hello I hope that you & your families are safe in well during this very challenging year. It has been a few weeks since I last blogged & for good reason.

I have been dealing with a family bereavement, focusing on some home improvement projects & generally getting mentally geared up to thrive during this late lockdown in England.

So, what next? I didn’t just want to blog for the sake of blogging but provide & update to actual content in the works. Over the next few weeks I will be collaberating with bloggers from https://homeworker.uk.com/

I am to begin working on a home working handbook perhapd in ebook format for people to be able to consume as a pose to flicking through several blog posts to find key information which helps them out.

Finally, I have been continuing to involve myself in home working initiatives to improve my own knowledge & understanding which in turn I will be feeding back into new blog / handbook content so stay tuned & have a great weekend.

Being indoors excessively can cause depression? What can you do to improve your Mental Health

Staying home for extended periods of time? Less socialising, less natural exercise, less breaks & less fresh air. In the UK office workers are again being advised to pack up the office kit & go home.

All aspects of working from home every day of the working week can begin to take its toll on both our physical & mental wellbeing.

Today, with the help of my research & personal experience I will be sharing with you some of the challenges we face & offer advice as to how we can combat them to reduce to risks to our health.

Firstly I’ll start by getting into some of the major issues we can face from spending extended periods behind closed doors:

  1. Increased chances of developing depression
  2. Lack of sunlight / vitamin D
  3. Risk of putting on weight

By staying indoors excessively, staring at the same four walls each & everyday can begin to make us become stir crazy, it can increase the amount of negative thoughts which we have. Multiply this by a lack of social interaction with family, friends & colleagues, along with worry about the pandemic & our loved ones & finally the day to day stress of the working week then you can easily see how quickly the ‘homeworking’ environment, especially in this current time can quickly cause our mental health which is being placed under increasing stress to develop into something much more serious like depression.

So, what can you do about it? What changes can you make that will make the difference to help prevent negative thoughts & depression from potentially taking hold of your life. I have covered it previously but I cannot stress the importance of taking regular breaks when working remotely, there are many types of breaks to be had outside of the normal ‘lunch’ break, such as microbreaks in between a meeting, having a few minutes spare getting up & walking into a different room or grabbing some fresh air outside your front/back door can literally do your mental wellbeing the world of good. When you can afford a slightly longer break trying to take a quick walk over the nearest park, shop or round the block, just getting out & clearing your head with fresh air plus a change of the scenery from the four walls around you is a great way to give yourself some freedom, you’ll also be getting that natural vitamin D from the sunlight

Exercise! It doesn’t have to be at the gym, you do not need a personal trainer or to spend hundreds on that ‘ideal training regime’ to get in shape in 30 days. With today’s technology there are so many different mediums in which to gather a ‘workout’ until you find something that you are happy with.

One of the great positives to come out of lockdown in fact was the number of different online / remote workouts which have been shared. In the UK there was huge praise for Joe Wicks & his series of free live, daily morning workouts. Also, heavyweight Champion the Gypsy king himself on Instagram shared free, live at home workouts for all to follow (he did have some other home equipment he used so a small investment may be required) & finally there are a few great apps on your phone that you can download a personal favourite of mine is the ‘7 minute workout’ app for which I have no excuse not to do, seeing as it is only 7 minutes. Exercise is proven to allow our bodies to release endorphins which in turn improve our mental wellbeing, self-esteem, energy levels & sharper memory.

Two birds with one stone nailed with this step because we can help to reduce the likelihood of us putting on excess weight (& if needed lose any unwanted weight), I actually piled on a stone in weight (6.3kg) during our first stint in lockdown, something I proud to announce I have almost shed completely kept off. You could argue 3 birds with one stone if you are exercising outside since you will also be getting that natural dose of vitamin D into your body.

So there you have it, I hope you found this article helpful, please feel free to leave your comments, feedback or any suggestions from your own experience which may help myself & others.

‘home working doubters & business leaders alike finally opening their eyes’

The typical understanding of ‘homeworking’, is a wealthy suntanned person on a beach, somewhere exotic with a cocktail and umbrella on the desk & the laptop sat under a matching umbrella with a sea breeze blowing in the background. The other typical view when you tell someone who either doesn’t work from home or doesn’t ‘endorse it’ is to expect comments like ‘oh working from the pub then’, giving the assumption that working from home is some sort of code for skiving off work.

It really isn’t given the right environment one can be even more productive than working a typical 9 to 5 plus commute in the office, if anything positive can come out of this pandemic, then I genuinely believe it’s the home working doubters & business leaders alike finally opening their eyes to the potential of allowing their office work force to become an even stronger home work force.

More IT professionals than ever before are finally being ‘trusted’ to pack up their office kit, swap the desktop for a laptop & venture into this new working from home arena to which there can be great benefits, such as flexible working, zero commute time & cost which can lead to a much greater home work life balance. On the other hand without putting the right tools & routines in place early on many can struggle in this new working environment with an anxious craving to get back to the old office routine. With some offices being closed long term this can also have a knock on affect to a person’s mental wellbeing as well as decrease in work productivity.

Life in the new homeworking ‘norm’ – some are lucky enough to have a study or office bedroom but for others (myself included) have been thrust into the house, along with the children & their partner. In my case as both a parent and a home carer to the mother of my children it has been a huge & very challenging shift.

On the face of it, homeworking  sounds brilliant to others, especially those in non IT roles with comments like ‘I bet it is great being at home with the family all together’. Then the reality of that kicks in, x number of family members all cooped up in the house 24/7, 7 days a week, it can send not just you but other family members into a mental breakdown but do not fear, I am going to be sharing my experience, good & bad of techniques I have learned, trialled, binned or stuck with to help with:

  1. Keeping morale up & positive mental wellbeing for all members of the household
  2. Setup ways to work to enable one to not just tick over, waiting for the office to re-open but to thrive in the new working environment
  3. Review the actual tools & equipment to enable you to work from home comfortably & effectively

Stay tuned for more when i’ll be taking a look at the importance of taking ‘regular breaks’, breaking down what it means, examples of what we can do, what we probably shouldn’t be doing & the benefits it can bring to us both productively & mentally.