Work from home. No, work from the office. Actually, work from Pret. Hang on a minute, you might be better off working from home, after all. Unless, of course, you have to attend work physically and centrally, in which case you should fly/teleport there to avoid the other potentially contaminated proles.

Nope, we’re not sure either. 

But what is pretty clear in between the lines of the government’s mixed messages and U-turns is the need for further home working for the foreseeable future. With the nights drawing in and the temperature noticeably dropping, #wfh Winter Edition is going to look a lot different from Summer’s. 

Let’s be honest, staying content with home working during Summer was easy, with liquid lunches in the sun, exercise breaks in the park and natural light streaming into our home offices, windows open wide. The coming cold season might have something different to say about that, but let’s be proactive here; here are 5 tips for practical, pragmatic home working this winter.

DRESS CODE FOR THE COLD

Yep, we all knew this one was coming. In fact, we’re just as tired of reading this tip as you are. Because if working in your Jim Jams all day makes you happy, then who are we to judge? In fact, we’re typing this piece wearing only our underwear; we’re in no position to cast aspersions elsewhere.

Winter home working, however, is a very different beast to those heady days of Summer, and wearing PJs or loungewear all day during the colder months, when motivation is already running on empty, is often the thing which can tip you over the edge into full blown hibernation mode. You’re already dressed the part for a duvet day…it would be rude not to play the role.

What’s more, being at home 24/7 in Winter is going to lead to an inevitable increase in your heating bill. It’s been reported that working from home over Winter will add £100 to fuel bills. We expect that figure could be significantly higher than that. Instead of having those radiators on full blast for long stretches of the day, layer up, wear an extra pair of socks and a jumper. Not only will you reduce your energy consumption, but you might even find getting changed into ‘outdoor’ clothes helps you knuckle down and focus.

A COMMUTE OF SORTS

Or, you could harness the energy of those outdoor clothes and take yourself, you guessed it, outdoors. When the weather’s inclement and the thermometer is dipping faster than a gym bro obsessed with his tris, it’s only natural to want to curl up in bed all day. That transition straight from duvet to desk when you’re working from home seems to start the working day off on the wrong, slippered foot.

Rewrite that wrong and take those feet out for a stroll before you settle into your home office space for the day. Many freelancers and those experienced in the art of working from home productively swear by a ‘commute’ each morning, even if that’s just a walk around the block to catalyse a change of scene and mindset before a single screen is stared at. If your work affords you this level of flexibility, do give it a try!

HOT DESK HOMESTYLE

Speaking of a change of scene…a switch up in home desk set up or location can sometimes be all you need to arrest that creeping sense of lagging motivation before it gets out of hand. 

Though making a habit of it may mean you can’t afford to get on the property ladder, the occasional afternoon spent working in a coffee shop rather than at home can do wonders for inspiring brain waves, curing writer’s block, or simply giving colour to an otherwise drab day. The different energy, the presence of strangers, and a little hustle and bustle all help to realign your focus and perspective after days spent indoors in your home office. 

For a cheaper (often free-of-charge) alternative, public libraries are now largely reopened, and have co-working spaces. If you’re not keen on braving the cold, even shifting your desk to a new position within the home can serve a similar function.

GET YOUR HOME GYM KITTED OUT

A regime of exercise and the positive mindset required to get you through the Winter go hand-in-hand; working out regularly is just so beneficial for our state of mind. In fact, in a recent study carried out by Oxford and Yale universities, it’s been posited that exercise makes us happier than money, with the contentment achieved via exercise equivalent to the happiness felt following a £19’000 pay rise, apparently.

But hey, what if devoted, mood boosting exercise and a potential payrise weren’t mutually exclusive? While there’s a likelihood that gyms will close again as the government introduces stricter COVID restrictions, you can still enjoy the benefits of regular exercise this winter by kitting out your home with a modest range of gym equipment. 

You can now buy good quality exercise bikes for use at home for around £150 online, which will have your cardio needs covered. For strength, a pull-up bar which you can fix between a doorframe offers a wide variety of strength training routines for different parts of the body. Or, you could create a free home gym with items you already own by harnessing the power of callisthenics. 

A short session each day during the time you used to waste commuting could make all the difference in you nurturing a more positive, productive mindset as we enter gloomier months.

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

Don’t allow the pressure of a tightening, shape shifting job market force you into staying in a job which makes you unhappy. An increase in home working has also led to an increase in concern over job security, make no mistake, and many workers will feel stability is more important than stimulation right now. 

But if you’re not happy in your current role and want a fresh start, there’s no harm in seeking pastures new from the comfort of home. There are loads of jobs you can apply to, interview for, and ultimately do remotely. As work from home becomes the norm, here are just a few roles with plenty of opportunities likely to be available in the coming months:

  • Virtual Assistant
  • Transcriber
  • Translator
  • Web Developer
  • Travel Agent
  • Freelance Writer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Data Entry
  • Graphic Designer
  • Event Planner
  • Grant Writer
  • Online Teacher
  • Specialized Instructor
  • Programmer
  • Photographer
  • Product Reviewer
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Tax Preparer
  • Public Relations
  • Clinical Research Coordinator

This is not an exhaustive list. You can still pave your own path, but this should give you an idea of the breadth of potential opportunities open to you in remote work. Don’t be limited by your location!