21 December 2020

By trainee Ben Edwards

The pandemic has affected all of our lives and the sudden shift to working from home has been a significant one. 

On the plus side, it’s been good to set the alarm clock a bit later and, especially as the mornings and evenings get colder, staying in the warmth of the house has been appealing. However, it has presented some challenges, so here are my hot tips for trainee life WFH:

Take regular breaks

This is one I completely ignored for too long. You forget that when working in the office, you get lots of natural breaks and time to stretch the legs, etc. 

Every pre-COVID day we would go down to get lunch in the firm’s café – Glassworks – and see friends during the lunch hour. There would also likely be training/meetings at least once a day, alongside coffee breaks etc. This is all-too-easy to miss out on when at home, where the coffee comes from a sachet rather than from César (everyone’s favourite barista). However, I have found that this just makes it especially important to get up off the desk chair regularly and take a break, preferably outside to get some fresh air. 

Go for walks outside

I have found that the work days have been infinitely better since going for walks in the morning before work. In normal times, I used to have a half-an-hour walk to the office which gave a good opportunity to listen to some music/podcasts and clear my head before the day began (and the same for the walk back). 

It took me until about 6 months into the pandemic to realise that replicating this was well worth the slightly earlier alarm! Now, wandering round the park and trying to avoid being knocked down by an electric scooter is the perfect start to the day. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, it makes a big difference to me. One of my favourite things about Bristol is all the accessible green space and it’s been good to see more of this during the pandemic. 

Separate work from relaxation

Lots of trainees have found it difficult to switch off from work during the lockdown. This is especially tricky for those of us who are working in the same bedroom as we sleep/rest. I have therefore found it critical to combat this by creating a separation between work and relaxation time. Over the summer I often tried to get out for a walk after work; now given the shorter daylight hours I tend to cook/have a shower/take some down time away from the bedroom to relax elsewhere. I also like to throw a blanket over the laptop and monitor set-up at the end of the working day: out of sight, out of mind!

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