Working from home this winter – a change of seasonal scene

By Jessica Riley on Monday, 9 November 2020

As we packed up our laptops, keyboards and screens in March no one could have guessed just how long we would be away from the office and usual coffee-shop haunts dotted across London – but here we are. Seven months later and we have all adapted to the remote working reality.

However, the winter months are upon us and the clocks have gone back. Cue plenty of grey days and darkness at 4.30pm. And, I am sure I am not alone when I say that my daily routine feels well-worn and I’m missing larger social interactions.

All of this can take its toll and there is a very real chance more of us will experience feelings of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) this winter. It’s a form of depression prevalent during the darker months and can cause people to experience drops in mood, feel less active, have a lack of interest in social events and want to sleep more.

To try and combat these feelings it’s important we all spend time checking in with ourselves, and our colleagues. As well as doing things that change our working landscape, switch up our daily routines and ensure we are looking after both our emotional and physical health.

Before the national lockdown was announced for November, some of us might have taken inspiration from the London pub group, Young’s. It launched a number of ‘work from pub’ food and drink deals to encourage visits from those that have been WFH for a while. Unlimited supplies of tea, coffee and bacon sandwiches are just some of the offers I’ve seen and that’s bound to help anyone through even the slowest weekday. Hopefully if the pubs reopen in December it’ll be back to give us some much-needed respite from our own four walls.

For those who don’t want to leave their homes unnecessarily, spending a bit of time and money brightening up your desk could make all the difference. Flowers, candles, room diffusers, a radio or therapeutic light boxes are all items that can radically improve the way your office space looks – and how you feel inside.

Being flexible with your “daily routine” can also help. There is less natural light in the winter so making the time to get outdoors first thing or at lunchtime means you’ll get some vitamin D and all-important fresh air. Even going for a socially distanced walk with a colleague or friend is a simple way to get some much-needed time away from a screen. And the gym, a run, or home workout in the garden (or living room if it’s raining) is always an option too.

Whatever you choose to do as we all wrap up for winter, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated or expensive – a simple change to a daily routine can help keep us all stay productive, open-minded, creative, happy and stave off the dreaded “winter sadness”.

Because really, who needs that on top of everything else this year!?

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