13th October, 2020

It’s one thing working from home in the balmy, never ending days of summer (hello daylight and midday breaks in the garden), but working from home in the winter is another kettle of fish entirely…. For a start, the 0.5 hours of daylight can become a little soul destroying, particularly if you don’t actually get to make the most of it because you are eyeball deep in zoom calls.

Having worked from home successfully for a fair few years now, here are my top tips for surviving the British Winter when you work from home.

1.)    Consider adjusting your routine. Consider changing your routing a little during the winter months. You know that millisecond of daylight I mentioned earlier? My recommendation is to try to get out in it for a brisk walk and some fresh air everyday if you can, even if it is raining sideways.  It’s amazing how much better you feel after a little exercise and some mood boosting sunlight.  This can be particularly beneficial if you are suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder and seeking additional support from your GP.  So if you are feeling lower than usual and need a boost, why not try blocking out a chunk of time around midday every day to get out and about? I’ve got two dogs, plus regular additions in the form of foster dogs, so I have an added incentive to go out (as they make it well known when they haven’t received adequate outdoor time!).  If you can’t shift your working day earlier or later to fit in time for a midday walk, you could always invest in a daylight lamp – a desktop lamp designed to replicate sunlight – which could help to positively lift your mood.

2.)    Unlock the thermostat. If you live with someone who can sense you even thinking about turning the heating up and is a firm believer in the ‘put a jumper on’ mentality, it’s worth letting them know that studies have shown that workplace performance increases with temperatures up to between 21 and 22 degrees Celsius, with the highest productivity at around 22 degrees Celcius (according to a study published in 2006 by researchers from the Helsinki University of Technology). So feel free to pop the thermostat to a comfortable level – productivity demands it!

3.)    Embrace the Hygge! Hygge (pronounced Hoo-guh) is the Danish word for cosy contentment, and covers everything from hot chocolate to hand knitted jumpers and festive spiced candles, whatever makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Need inspiration when it comes to making your working space ‘hug’ you this Winter? There are more than 4 million posts on Instagram with the hashtag #hygge, which is a great place to start!

4.)    Actively avoid burnout. Winter can be a germ fest, so do what you can to keep yourself as healthy and happy as possible.  Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet with plenty of vitamin-packed fruit and vegetables, and try to get out in the fresh air regularly for some exercise.  Yes, I know that eating a whole bar of Galaxy under a duvet on the sofa is much more appealing, but working from home is far easier when you are happy and healthy.  Of course, anyone can come down with a bug, so if you do find yourself under the weather this winter, take my advice and step away from the computer for a day or two! It’s easy to carry on working when you can work from your actual bed, but taking a little time to switch off and recuperate is absolutely essential if you want to avoid burnout and prolonged illness this winter.

How do you cope in the long, dark and damp British Winters when you work from home? I’d love to hear your top tips – feel free to share them on one of my Social Media pages!


Photo by Csaba Balazson Unsplash


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