Workplace, Mental Health, Self care, COVID19 2 minute read

How to stay motivated when working from home

The once-in-a-lifetime pandemic we are currently experiencing has completely changed the way we live and work. Working from home (WFH) has been a positive lifestyle change for many, with studies revealing several benefits of the arrangement. However, after nearly two years of rapidly changing work dynamics, the novelty has worn off for some.

Staying motivated whilst working in isolation remains one of the most difficult obstacles that the WFH lifestyle has created. The separation from the normal buzz of your workplace, replaced with navigating partners, children, housemates, pets, or in many cases, hardly any human interaction which doesn’t involve a wifi connection, creates a less than ideal situation for many workers.

pexels-ketut-subiyanto-4473893

Despite workplaces’ best efforts to implement formalised WFH policies, staying motivated in a home environment is one of the most challenging elements of the new normal. The motivation we need to get tasks done, move about, or hit deadlines, can arise from two different sources. These are known as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

  • Intrinsic (inside) motivation is when we engage in a task or activity because the activity itself is rewarding.
  • Extrinsic (outside) motivation moves us to complete a task because there is a separate reward waiting upon its completion. Or, on the other hand, extrinsic motivation pushes us to get something done to avoid punishment.

Extrinsic motivation, in a work context, can influence people to complete tasks that personally, they are not overly interested in. However, when we work from home, the reward that we would receive for completing tasks in the office doesn’t always transfer to the new dynamic. For example, the praise your employer and colleagues might give you in person, for completing something done ahead of schedule, might not be received whilst working remotely.


image-from-rawpixel-id-2335472-jpeg-1

WFH offers fewer opportunities for extrinsic motivation and increases opportunities for distraction. These two factors, among many others, make for the perfect storm, leading to a decrease in motivation for many workers during this time.

In light of this, we have compiled three tips that will help you to stay motivated while WFH.

1. Divide your time

By setting or allocating periods of time to work on tasks, you can make larger projects more manageable, and less overwhelming to tackle.
For example, by setting a timer for 50 minutes, you can separate your day into 50-minute intervals of work, and reward yourself with 10 minutes of rest or break time at the end of each hour. This allows you to create your own mini ‘reward’ at the end of each task, which motivates you to spend the ‘working’ time you have allocated yourself, being more productive.

Practising meditation is a great way to reset and refocus, you can find over 400 free meditations on the Smiling Mind app to help you get started.

2. Create incentives

Speaking of rewards, create your own version of incentives to motivate you to get the job done. For example, you might leave your favourite podcast episode to listen to or get outside for some exercise on your lunch break. Incentives can even be as simple as planning to take a moment to enjoy your favourite afternoon tea snack after you tick a task off your to-do list.

After all, it’s always easier to get something done when you know there is a fun treat waiting for you on the other side of it! 

pexels-andres-ayrton-6551485

3. Choose your workspace wisely

For most of us, WFH was never a part of the plan, and so a dedicated office room at home isn’t always possible. However, it is important to dedicate a space in your home to work, and work only! We recommend trying to separate this space from the bedroom or living room if possible, to avoid blending ‘rest’ spaces with ‘work’ spaces. This allows you to get in the right frame of mind for the workday, and to create some kind of work and life separation during this time. 

image-from-rawpixel-id-1224146-jpeg

Looking for more ways to support your team whilst WFH? Check out our leading workplace program, to help your team take a proactive approach to support their mental health.

Learn more about our workplace program

 

References:

1 Oakman, J., Kinsman, N., Stuckey, R. et al. A rapid review of mental and physical health effects of working at home: how do we optimise health?. BMC Public Health 20, 1825 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09875-z

Smiling Mind

Written by Smiling Mind

Latest

Children’s mental health the losers of this year’s budget

The 2025 Federal Budget has failed our children, according to Australia’s leading children’s mental health not-for-profi...

Mental Health, Media release 3 minute read

Don’t forget Our Kids this budget, Prime Minister

Tomorrow’s budget announcement will be an important reflection of what we care about as a nation. There’s an opportunity...

Children, Family, Mental Health, Media release 3 minute read

How to Encourage Friendships in the Classroom: A Guide for Teachers

Forging healthy classroom connections is an integral part of a child’s emotional and social learning in school. These co...

Tips & Tricks, Teachers, Students, Schools 6 minute read

Why a ‘Blended’ Approach to Social and Emotional Learning in Schools Can Create Greater Impact

Schools, and the educators that work within them, are in a unique and influential position. They have the ability to cre...

Children, Schools 14 minute read
Quote of the week
“You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.”
Pema Chödrön

At home

Don’t forget Our Kids this budget, Prime Minister

Tomorrow’s budget announcement will be an important reflection of what we care about as a nation. There’s an opportunity...

Children, Family, Mental Health, Media release 3 minute read

Why a ‘Blended’ Approach to Social and Emotional Learning in Schools Can Create Greater Impact

Schools, and the educators that work within them, are in a unique and influential position. They have the ability to cre...

Children, Schools 14 minute read

Only 1 in 2 parents feel confident meeting the mental health and wellbeing needs of their child

Child mental health is declining, and only one in two parents feel confident meeting the mental health and wellbeing nee...

Children, Family, Mental Fitness 3 minute read

At Work

Empower Your Mind: How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Active learning, hard work and valuable feedback can change our brains—literally. Our intelligence is malleable and when...

Workplace, Tips & Tricks, Family 5 minute read

Leading the Way to Wellbeing: How Managers Can Counteract Workplace Stressors

Investing in workplace mental wellbeing is quickly becoming the dividing factor between a thriving business, and one tha...

Workplace, Tips & Tricks 8 minute read

The Art and Science of Compliments in the Workplace: A Comprehensive Guide

Improve mental wellbeing and team cohesiveness in the workplace by opening up communication and encouraging positive enf...

Workplace 5 minute read

At school

How to Encourage Friendships in the Classroom: A Guide for Teachers

Forging healthy classroom connections is an integral part of a child’s emotional and social learning in school. These co...

Tips & Tricks, Teachers, Students, Schools 6 minute read

Why a ‘Blended’ Approach to Social and Emotional Learning in Schools Can Create Greater Impact

Schools, and the educators that work within them, are in a unique and influential position. They have the ability to cre...

Children, Schools 14 minute read

How to set your classroom up for success when it comes to SEL to build student (and teacher!) mental fitness

Cassandra Furst is a passionate primary school teacher who creates a positive learning environment that encourages curio...

Teachers, Students, Schools 7 minute read

News

Children’s mental health the losers of this year’s budget

The 2025 Federal Budget has failed our children, according to Australia’s leading children’s mental health not-for-profi...

Mental Health, Media release 3 minute read

Don’t forget Our Kids this budget, Prime Minister

Tomorrow’s budget announcement will be an important reflection of what we care about as a nation. There’s an opportunity...

Children, Family, Mental Health, Media release 3 minute read

3.6 million invested in a revolutionary approach to mental health for Australian children and families

Preventing mental illness before it starts is at the heart of a bold new partnership spearheaded by Smiling Mind and bol...

Mental Health, Media release 4 minute read
Recent initiatives
Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 3.30.05 pm

NAIDOC Week with Jack Charles