How to stay motivated while you WFH

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As COVID-19 continues to disrupt our normal lives, many more Brits are remote working than before. In fact, according to our latest survey, over a third (36%) are currently working from home or expect to do it soon. If that doesn’t sound like much, in context, this equates to over 19 million people.

These stats are from 2011 nationally representative general respondents between 20.03.2020 and 23.03.2020.

Of the respondents currently working from home, the experience really varies:

  • 3 in 10 (30%) are used to working from home and have been doing this frequently
  • Almost 1 in 4 (23%) are used to it, and have done this before, but not frequently
  • Almost 3 in 10 (28%) are not used to working from home, they haven’t done this before, and it is completely new for them

If you’re struggling with motivation, you’re not alone. In fact, of the respondents currently working from home, almost a fifth (19%) said they are slightly less or much less motivated than their usual working place. While for the respondents who don’t always work from home, almost 2 in 5 (39%) reported they find it tricky but are getting used to it and over 1 in 10 (13%) said they find it really hard.

As Censuswide gets into the swing of working from home, we asked the team for their tips and tricks on how to stay motivated (and a couple of don’ts).

Step one: get your workspace right

Working from your lap in front of the TV can work for a little while, but having a proper work station is really important. In fact, over a third (36%) of respondents that are less* motivated than usual, say that they work from the sofa compared to 27% of those that are more** motivated than usual. Similarly, 41% of respondents who are less* motivated than usual have the TV on in the background compared to 27% of the more** motivated bunch. Here are some other tips from our team:

  • Connor said: “Having a good workspace with natural light coming in. You’ll never be productive and get good work done if you’re working in a cave!”
  • Tom said: “Try not to work in the same area that you relax in (i.e. bedroom/living room) so that you can keep your work and relaxation separate”
  • Devon said: “Personalise your working area and make sure it is comfortable”
  • Lucy adds: “get fresh air into the room and don’t let it get too warm – it’s easy to see home as this cosy sanctuary so to avoid sluggishness, keep the temp a little bit lower than you normally would”

Step two and three: have a shower and get dressed

Starting the day as you normally would is important to get in the right headspace before work – and over two thirds (34%) of respondents that are more** motivated say they have a shower each morning before work. And our team agrees:

  • Maria said: “don’t stay in pyjamas all day, get up get dressed so you can feel you are ready to tackle the day”
  • August, said: “wear a suit…” (he has literally been wearing his suit as he works from home and we salute him) “… but seriously, dress as you would if you were going into the office”
  • Lucy said: “Make sure you take a shower and get ready for work just as you normally would”
  • Devon said: “Get up in the morning as you would normally – no lie ins”

Step four: make a list and set a schedule

Working from home can initially make you feel a little out of sorts so making lists and setting a schedule for yourself can bring back some much needed structure to your day. Other tips from our team are:

  • Anita said: “Keeping an activity log of what you are doing so you can see your progress, otherwise can feel like you aren’t doing enough”
  • Connor said: “Create a detailed plan/checklist everyday – ticking off each item as you go. It’s the small wins and achievements that help motivate us through the day”

Step five: keep communication up with your team

Working remotely can often shine a spotlight on how great communication is in the office – you can’t ask those quick questions across the desk so easily. However, our team has some more tips for this area:

  • Red suggests having “frequent video calls with other team members and having a centralised messaging platform for queries that would normally be shouted out in the office.” Another of Red’s tips is to “have specific platforms for specific comms, e.g. general comms with Microsoft Teams, 121 comms with Skype for Business”.
  • Caitlin said: “Make sure you keep in touch with other colleagues and don’t be scared to ask them for help.”

Step six: exercise and keep hydrated

Exercise gets the blood flowing and oxygen to the brain and as we all become more sedentary, it’s really important to try and get some exercise in where possible.

  • Lucy said: “drink loads of water – dehydration is the number one cause of daytime tiredness”
  • Tom said: “Use your commute time to be productive – do exercise, have a proper breakfast or meditate”

Step seven: give yourself a break

Figuratively and literally. It can be easy to burnout when you work from home because your work and life balance becomes blurred. Make sure you take breaks and give yourself a break, as the team sum up perfectly:

  • Anita said: “be kind to yourself – it’s easy to give yourself a hard time about the things you think you should be doing or how much work you should be getting done but really if you know you are doing all that you can, be kinder with yourself”
  • Connor said: “prepare yourself a nice lunch and take some good time away from your laptop to relax”
  • Tom said: “remember to take small breaks (as you would in the office to make coffee)”
  • Maria said: “Take your break outside your home, go for a walk, go outdoors” (of course, while sticking Government Advice)
  • Devon said: “Make sure you take your breaks and eat etc in a different room to the one you are working in”

So there you have it, Censuswide’s tips and tricks to stay motivated as you work from home. If you have any you’d like to share or if you’d like us to share the data on working from home with you, let us know at: [email protected]


*combining and taking the average of respondents who are slightly less and much less motivated

**combing and taking the average of respondents who are slightly more or much more motivated

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