As the ‘work from home if you can’ guidance has returned across the UK, many people may be dusting off their makeshift home offices. There’s very mixed reactions to changing back to video calls and home offices, but at least for the time being, this is our normal.
The new guidance comes as a way to attempt to slow the spread of the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron. Much is still unknown about Omicron – specifically about its transmissibility and how it will impact the people who contract it. As record numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases were recorded last week in England, more and more people are returning to working from their homes.
The government guidance states:
“Office workers who can work from home should do so from Monday 13 December. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work – for example, to access equipment necessary for their role or where their role must be completed in person. In-person working will be necessary in some cases to continue the effective and accessible delivery of some public services and private industries. If you need to continue to go into work, consider taking lateral flow tests regularly to manage your own risk and the risk to others.”
The new guidance also states that:
“employers should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.”
What Impact Did Working From Home Have?
At the beginning of the pandemic, people were thrown into working from home at short notice, and on a huge scale. People who had never worked remotely before found themselves spending eight extra hours a day in the house and conducting their meetings from their front rooms.
It’s safe to say that most people didn’t have a home office to move into – so makeshift offices sprung up in homes all across the UK. Desks were set up under the stairs or in the corners of rooms, and curtains and mirrors tried to divide the space between home life and working life. Some people didn’t put much effort into creating a working space for themselves, hoping the pandemic would be over and done with before anyone even felt the change.
It goes without saying that this wasn’t the case, and many people are now wondering how long the current guidance will remain in place, and how long they’ll be confined to working from home.
How Can I Make My Home Office Better?
Whether your home office is a designated room, or a chair pulled up to a surface in the kitchen, there’s some steps you can take to make sure that you get the most from the space you’re working in. Some households have made huge lifestyle changes, bringing in architect companies to help re-design their homes.
It’s so important to set aside space for yourself to work, and designate that space to your working life rather than your personal life. The space can be as big or little as you have the capacity to set aside – but the act of separating your home life and working life can be pivotal in your productivity.
This can help retain some semblance of ‘normality’ – whilst you won’t be commuting into the office daily, you’ll go to your designated working space in your home. Then, at the end of the working day, you can return to the comfort of your home life.