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27 Jan 2021 - 4 minutes

Living In Focus: How To Love Homeworking

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How’s your lockdown going? Third time’s meant to be the charm. However, the charm of staying in so much has more than worn off – it’s evaporated. The shorter days and longer socks aren’t much fun. There’s less of an urge to run, detox and binge box sets either.

So let’s make the rest of lockdown #3 much more bearable.

Welcome to our Living In Focus series, where we chat about self-care and environmental inspo to see you through our last collective headache.

And we’re starting with homeworking. Because the rest of the day hurts if we don’t nail it; nobody wants to dread the 9-5 and live for sleep. Plenty of our residents are cracking on with digital jobs. Whatever routine you’re in, there are probably ways to improve it.

There are three stages: environment, body and mind . . .

Build the space

There’s no set rule for what work looks like to you. Which means the DNA of a homeworking setup is going to change from person to person and role to role. Yet we can give you a couple of founding goals.

Position your desk, for example, towards as much sunlight as you can get. Our apartments in AXIS, Manhattan and Park Gate were designed with this in mind. Why? Because natural light fights Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – the lowkey sadness of screens and dark rooms. We need it to feel good. In fact, sun exposure improves memory and cognition as well. UV rays affect our neurology, stimulating glutamates, the chemicals sending signals through your brain. We’ve put those benefits at the fore of our design, actually. Our apartments have huge windows – often floor-to-ceiling – for bathing in rays and clear skies.

Meanwhile, prepare precise spaces for all the things you’ll need. Compartmentalise the desk, drawers and tabletops. Do the same for any digital systems you’re using: Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and so on. Not only will you save time and stress in the short term – your mood will improve, since you’ll know where to go for each resource or document.

Be kind to your body

It’s easy to lose track of physical fitness on a wheelie chair for eight hours. But be strict with yourself: take one form of workout a day, with a mix of strength, conditioning and cardio.

This all starts with having a full allotted lunch break, and buying decent exercise kit. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. A couple of key pieces will do fine. Yoga mats, for instance, aren’t just good for the lotus position. They’re excellent to practice handstands against the wall. Read some advice for literally turning your fitness regime upside down. Or queue up some free classes on YouTube, a direct trend from Lockdown #1.

Alternatively, try one of the most popular lockdown sports – boxing! You don’t need much space for it. Buy a pair of wall-mounted pads or an inflatable bag, then go to town with jabs, hooks, uppercuts and ducks (one knee planted in the crook of your other leg as you bend). Trainers such as Boxx have released a bunch of home workouts to set you off on the right fight path.

Spacious, open-plan apartments can leave space for your fitness area. If you have a little extra budget, why not explore our two-bed apartments in Manchester too, and turn the spare room into a gym shrine? Our website has more information on that.

Work on yourself too

Mental health is inextricable from the rest of your wellbeing. Homeworking can harm it in a number of ways – not just from isolation, but the sense of rolling out of bed straight to a computer. With no social life, there’s no relief.

That’s why you absolutely have to make the most of your free time. Mute notifications. Close your laptop for a few hours. Save post-5:30 emails for the morning. Talk to your boss or wider team about the importance of shutting off when the work day ends. This may lead to more flexible shifts too, if – let’s say – you’d prefer a two-hour break, or discover you work better with a 10AM start.

SHP Online has some great advice too, including wearing a change of clothes for work – one of the biggest moves to split the ‘professional’ and ‘regular’ you. If you’re strict about where and how you’re working, burnout is less of a concern. Change scenery along with your outfit. Work in the bedroom and chill in the living room, or vice versa, to draw those boundaries even more clearly.

Physical space, mental space, the amount of light washing over your body . . . It’s all the same for feeling 100%. Really think – are you happy where you are? Environments can’t be undervalued when we cut down to the core of living (and working) well. For a place to just ‘be’ at last, speak to our lettings team today. Lockdown hasn’t shut us down! Someone can help with anything you’re keen to find.

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