Business as usual (almost)

Working from home, photo by Ruth Bailey

Thank you to all of you who have been keeping in touch with St Andrew’s by various means. The office was ‘relocated’ in March this year and now that many of us here in Switzerland are working from home once again I wanted to share some strategies which have helped me since I began working within my own four walls.

Get dressed, take time to eat a proper breakfast. Prepare yourself as if you were going to the office. Continue with (or begin new ones) small rituals that help you start the day.

If possible, ‘carve out’ a separate workspace so that a border is made between home and work life. Even if your office is simply a corner of your sitting room, get a comfortable chair, making sure it is at the correct height for your table or working surface. If you can, ensure you have some natural daylight, add a plant, a picture or some sort of decoration – demarcating a space helps you to create a sense of entering and then leaving your ‘office’ at the end of the working day. 

Build a transition between home and work – even if it’s not always a pleasure, commuting gives ourselves time to prepare for the day ahead. In the absence of a journey try going out for a short walk before starting work.

Keep to defined working hours. If you frequently find yourself extending your working day, make a conscious effort to mentally switch off, and disconnect your devices. Start again tomorrow with a fresh mind; the work will still be there in the morning but after a complete break and a night’s rest you should be able to tackle the tasks with renewed energy.

Do take breaks, they’re very necessary. Don’t forget to give your eyes a rest, blink to keep your eyeballs moist and relax your eye muscles, and look away from the computer screen at 20 minute intervals. Every so often walk around for a few minutes, your body as well as your mind needs exercise.

Don’t get distracted by news flashes or similar notifications, switch off audio alerts on your phone.

Ask yourself how you communicate. If you’re used to communicating mostly by email, make some telephone or video calls instead. Adding more dimensions to your ways of communicating will help you to avoid feeling isolated.

Don’t forget to socialise, not just small talk, but by really checking in with colleagues, and asking them how are you? how are you coping? as you would have done in pre-Covid times. We need this human interaction more than ever in these extraordinary times that we are living through.

And, a final thought, occasionally cast your eyes skywards, there are often beautiful clouds to be admired and appreciated…(except for nimbostratus of course, that grey blanket of cloud that gives all the others a bad name).

Ruth Bailey, Church Administrator

4 thoughts on “Business as usual (almost)

  1. Having watched Austrian TV last evening from about 08.00 until 01.00 this morning, you are quite right Ruth, to suggest looking up and out at what we have.
    Those people in Vienna last evening went out to enjoy the last evening before lockdown. It was a lovely warm evening, just right for a walk through the charming backstreets of old Vienna, meet friends for a drink, laugh with each other and enjoy life.

    Some of them didn’t make it home again.
    Life has changed for them and their families.
    Life will change for those who will make it home but whose bodies have changed.

    We need to stand still and enjoy what we have, friends and families.
    Make the most of every day.
    Look out at the setting sun, watch the different colours of the clouds, take a walk in the rain and be thankful.

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