Remote Lessons for Home Workers

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‘Working from Home’ is the new ‘Going to the Office’

What I’ve found most surprising about the past year hasn’t so much been that people have missed their daily routine of going to an office to work, but that so many have quickly adapted to working from home. This has meant lots of people sitting in their spare bedrooms, at the dining table or even in kitchens tapping away on laptops and logging into Zoom or Microsoft Teams for meetings. From a work perspective, it’s been an ideal solution: more efficient use of time and space, less traffic on the roads, no stressful commute etc.

However, an aspect of everyone’s weekly routine that we perhaps didn’t expect to miss as much as we have has been the human contact – getting into work, catching up on what everyone did at the weekend, making a brew, sharing funny stories etc. Spending all day with the same people for months on end can turn colleagues into friends and the workplace feel like a home full of people who know you intimately. It’s the connections with your work family that break up the day and turn each morning and afternoon into a series of conversations, discussions, jokes and laughter.

Find a work / pleasure balance at your home office

Working from home needn’t turn into 8 hours of solid graft, stuck in a room all day alone. Just as a day at the office needs to be punctuated by moments of downtime – nipping out to get the birthday buns, replacing the bottle at the water dispenser etc – so, your workday at home must include breaks, changes of scenery, social interaction and a bit of light hearted fun.

One person’s idea of a relaxing break is quite different another, but here are a few ideas to help you get through your day and stay sane:

  1. Go for a short walk. Plan a 10 minute route around your neighbourhood or into the local park, and get out in the fresh air for a while. You might even start to see familiar faces as you probably do if you would usually commute to work on public transport.
  2. Take time over preparing your snacks / lunch. Just because you’re at home you shouldn’t settle for boring food. Be sure to leave enough time to make something fresh for your lunch, or at least put your feet up while a ready meal heats up in the microwave.
  3. Listen to a podcast. No longer are we limited to a few radio stations to get us through the day. There are some fascinating podcasts on all types of subjects, and listening to people discussing a subject close to your heart can be an excellent alternative to ‘real life’ human contact.
  4. Meditate. Taking 10 minutes or so to sit quietly can help focus the mind. Some people use the time to clear their minds by concentrating on the sensations of their breathing – feeling the air enter and exit through the nose, and the rise and fall of the chest. Others meditate on something in particular such as a problem that they need time dedicated time to think about. While others still transport themselves elsewhere, imagining the sights, sounds and smells of a day at the beach. Meditation is proven to be good for you, lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and allowing you to more easily manage a busy work day.
  5. Try yoga. Many people swear by yoga because it brings together the mental relaxation of meditation with the discipline and health benefits of physical exercise. There are loads of YouTube videos that can help you get started. Once you get confident, you could do a short yoga routine combined with listening to a favourite album or radio programme.
  6. Get creative with a pen and paper. Instead of posting to social media, how about writing a journal to get your thoughts down on paper: doing so has been shown to be good for emotional wellbeing and can help to clarify your thoughts. Alternatively, draw a picture or express yourself through poetry / storytelling – the saying goes that there’s a novel in each of us!

Learning something new keeps the brain young and healthy

I find that I enrich every day by engaging in activities that challenge my mind and my body. As well as some of the activities above, I try to take time out of my busy schedule to go for a jog or a short bike ride, and to study French language. I have regular Zoom lessons with a lovely French teacher called Claire who I spend half an hour or an hour with, learning about the grammar and spoken language. It’s a pleasure to engage with a subject that I feel passionate about while building a friendly, trusting and fun relationship with my tutor.

Perhaps you have always fancied learning a musical instrument but haven’t felt like you had the time? Ironically, being busy with home working could be the ideal time to give it a go – short lessons can be taken over Zoom as regularly or periodically as suits you, and 10 minutes out of your working day to sit down and play could be another perfect way for you to dedicate some time for yourself, strike your work-life balance, and free yourself now and again from your desk.

I teach these subjects over Zoom or face-to-face:


Piano
Piano



Singing
Singing



Guitar / Uke
Guitar



Bass Guitar
Bass Guitar



Keyboard
Electronic Keyboard



Music Theory
Music Theory



A Level Music
A Level Music



Junior Music
Junior Music




Take back some of your working day for you…

Whatever you do for a living, remember that everyone deserves to be happy and relaxed in the workplace. The article above contains just a few suggestions of ways that you might achieve a better sense of balance and wellbeing during your days working from home, but everyone is different. I hope the main takeaway for you, though, is that a healthy day is one that includes lots of variety. We might not be able to travel far away from our homes, but we can use the time and space that we have to maximise our health and happiness.

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