Working from home: Does a clear desk mean a clear mind?

As the nation attempts to get to grips with the Coronavirus pandemic, millions of people around the UK are being asked to work from home wherever possible. For those not used to it, this can prove a difficult challenge – for any number of reasons.

Some people may find themselves easily distracted by the television or radio, while others may be juggling the demands of their job as well as looking after and home-schooling their children. On top of all that, a lot of people may not have a suitable set-up that is conducive to a productive day’s work.

Having a designated space to work in – ideally one that’s separate from the hustle and bustle of the household – can play a huge part in that, as can having a desk that suits the way you operate. Instantprint, providers of business cards, flyers, posters and stationery, teamed up with well-known psychologist Donna Dawson to work out what your desk says about you.

Apparently, there are five types of desks and the people that use them:

  • The minimalist represents someone who keeps things extremely tidy, almost to the point of OCD.
  • The chaotic is quite the opposite. Far from tidy, their desk will be strewn with paperwork, mugs of tea or coffee and other objects.
  • The home from home desk contains lots of personal belongings such as photos of friends and family, snack boxes and plants.
  • The trophy desk shows off prior achievements, perhaps in the form of employee awards or prizes won for sporting pursuits.
  • The tech-lover workstation displays all the different gadgets, confirming that person to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest hardware.

The majority of us will probably fall into one of these categories, but the truth is there’s no right or wrong answer. You have to find a set-up that suits you and encourages you to maximise your productivity.

We’re all different, but there’s no doubt that working from home for long periods when we’re not used to it can have an impact on our mental wellbeing. The lack of social interaction can affect all of us, but practicing mindfulness can help us to feel a sense of normality returning.

For example, setting an alarm, showering and eating breakfast before we log on can help to keep us in the routine we would be observing if working as usual. And remember to take breaks just as regularly – even if it’s just to sort the laundry or do some washing up.

Perhaps now more than ever, it’s crucial to remain in communication with your colleagues. It’s unlikely you’d go a full day in the office without talking to them, so maintain those relationships even though you have to do so remotely for the time being. Doing all of these things can help to put your mind at rest and overcome the challenges of working from home.

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