By Becky Weaver

There’s no easy way to say that COVID-19 is having a huge impact on us in every possible way. Not only has it put a stop to social gatherings, forcing venues across the city to close and leaving our much-loved independents shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues in an extremely vulnerable position, but it’s now also heavily affecting our day-to-day lives, with the majority of us working from home.

Following the Government’s first press conference on Monday, COVID-19 has left a huge number of people with no choice but to work from home and introduce social distancing. As a former freelance journalist, I have no issue in working from home, but that still doesn’t mean that I find it easy. 

While working from home might seem like a luxury – I’ve had many people say to me in the past that they’re jealous that I get to type away from the comfort of my own home in my cosiest clothes – it’s actually more of a challenge than you might think. 

Working from home means that I’d often find myself easily distracted. Procrastination was often my best friend until those deadlines crept so close that I’d find myself panicking to get my work done before my deadline hit. 

So, with that in mind, I decided to hop on the #TeamEV news page for my first ever post to share some of my top tips on how to stay motivated until we can all return to our normal routines. 

Set yourself a daily routine

As tempting as it might be to have some extra time in bed because you’re working from home – don’t do it. The best thing you can do is set your regular alarm to be sat at your makeshift desk for the day for the time you’d normally be settling in at your office.

Keeping yourself in the regular swing of things will stop you from falling out of your Monday – Friday routine. Now, I’m not saying you have to get out of bed at 6am when you’re due to start work at 9am, but make the effort to get dressed, look at your to-do list for the day and take regular short breaks away from your computer. 

Remember, this isn’t an excuse to finally crack on with those jobs around the house that you’ve been putting off for months, you’re still responsible for meeting deadlines and ensuring that your work’s done to a high standard. 

Invent new ways to co-work

Admittedly, self-isolation and working from home can get incredibly lonely and have a pretty negative impact on our mental health. I always made the effort to try and work away from home a few days a week to break up my week a little, visiting a bunch of independent cafes across the city – those guys need your help now more than ever before, FYI. 

Since the urgency of COVID-19 has reached new heights, the Government has introduced social distancing, which in some circumstances makes it harder to get out and about to co-work. That being said, it doesn’t mean that you should cut off working alongside either your colleagues or friends altogether. 

Even here at #TeamEV, we’ve had to step away from our office where we share many laughs on a daily basis, but we’re still very much working together to support our clients. This means that we’ve since come up with new ways to co-work so that we don’t feel isolated and cut off from each other. COVID-19 might be threatening us in many ways, but it’ll never stop us from doing what we truly love and care about.

If you need a bit of company, set up a Skype call with your pals, a Google Hangout session, create a new WhatsApp group, and remember to reach out to someone if you feel like the stress of COVID-19 is having a negative impact on your mental health.

Speaking of which… keep on top of your mental health

As I’ve said before, working from home has its pros and cons. Pro – you’re working from the comfort of your own home and feeling like you’re living your best life. Con – you’re probably spending a lot more time inside right now because of the necessary Government laws. Being cooped up inside isn’t good for your mental health. A lot of freelancers end up feeling incredibly lonely because, more often than not, they’re working alone. 

While the Prime Minister is discouraging us from spending time in public spaces, he has, on the flipside, encouraged us to still get outside – weird flex somewhat considering we’ve been told to stay away from most of the things we love, but ok. So, whether it’s taking some of your lunch break – factor time for that in your day plan, too – to go out for a walk or run, it’s important that you do it. Or, why not pick up your phone and give a friend/family member a call.

We’re all in this together and I have no doubt that the #TeamEV spirit will continue to be just as strong, even when we’re not all in the same room. Although, someone really must remember to go in and feed the fish!

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