Corona virus has impacted the way that we are all working. With the majority of companies now working from home to limit the risk of spread, we have all had to adapt to how we work.
It is disputed that a lot more companies will now offer remote working even after Corona virus because of how effective and easy it has been to implement and the opportunity that it offers employees such as seeing their families more and saving money by not having to commute.
While working from home has not been the biggest of challenges for us all it has been and continues to be a difficult transition for autistic employees.
This week’s blog will offer 5 tips to help autistic employees develop a new routine and transition to the new normal of working from home.
1. Keeping your morning routine
The first tip that we recommend is keeping your morning routine the same. What we mean by this is keeping your morning schedule running as normal as possible so, waking up at the same time and following your usual daily actives, like showering and eating breakfast. This is so you don’t have to experience more change than necessary and so that you do not need to alter your daily routines any further.
Although working from home has been hard, its particularly hard for those on the spectrum, and can significantly cause anxiety and impact their mental health.
- Waking up an hour later every day can affect your work productivity. For instance, having a lie in will leave you feeling de-energized for work when you do have to get up to join your Monday morning weekly meeting at 9am.
- Or how consistently getting up later each morning may result in you going to bed later each night. Until one morning you miss your alarm and become late for your work meeting which can could have disastrous consequences for your employment.
- Or even how getting up later could also affect your routine and productivity if you had to work from the office one morning. Resulting in you having to alter your routine to get up earlier to commute in; and by the time you are in your have a very unproductive day because your so tired as you had to get up and leave an hour early to arrive on time.
2. Getting dressed
Our second recommendation is to make sure you are getting dressed. It is easy to just sit in our pyjamas all day and I’m sure it is something we are all guilty of doing at least once!
Choosing to not get dressed when working from home can have consequences for out work. It has been proven that not getting dressed decreases our productivity.
For an autistic employee getting dressed for work is another part of their morning routine and altering this as we have already mentioned can result in more barrier for their day to day activity so we recommend for this reason that you continue to follow this part of your routine and get dressed ready for work.
Another reason we recommend this is because sitting in your pyjamas all day everyday can take a toll on ones mental health. Autistic individuals are more likely that neuro-typical individuals to suffer from mental health conditions.
Sitting in one’s pyjamas all day can make you feel sluggish, depressed and affect your motivation. For somebody autistic these feelings are likely to be amplified and come on faster.
To stop this occurring we recommend that you continue to get dressed ready for work as it will help your state of mind, continue your routine meaning less change and is just the more professional thing to do.
3. Space to work
The third tip we want to advise is that you make sure you have somewhere that you can work. This space should be light, clean, quiet, and organised.
Having your own space equipped with all the things you need and may require will allow you to focus and will help increase your productivity as you won’t have to break momentum to go and grab the highlighter you left in your bag in the hallway.
We also recommend laying your desk out the way it is at your work this will again help you with the change and routine as everything will be in the more familiar layout that you are used to.
If you do not have a spare room or an office that you can call your own space I would recommend finding a nook in one of the rooms you do have that you can make sure own such as the kitchen table. I would advise against working from your bed and this is not good for your posture and is not an ideal space for writing and making notes.
4. Scheduling dates
Working from home will result in using a variety of different methods of communication such as zoom and Microsoft teams calls, WhatsApp voice notes, and Whereby video calls. Using a variety of platforms can get confusing therefore, it is best to have a diary to schedule in daily calls and activities. This will help to keep your work-life organised and keep your focus and productivity up.
There are many ways you may choose to schedule your appointments for example you might find that a wall planner is best for you; as everything gets complied on one sheet. Similarly, a diary is another option, you can view a daily or weekly schedule and there is normally a notes section that you can use throughout the day.
Another option is an online calendar such as google calendar this may be more effective if you are constantly using different platforms for calls as you can add the links so it takes you directly to the call. It also notifies you 10 minutes before that you have a call due.
5. Taking breaks…
Autistic employees are often described as hard workers and being at home they will work just as hard as they would in their job. One of the struggles for them being at home is that they will get so focused in what they are doing that they will not realise the time and will forget to take their breaks.
It is easy to forget when working from home to take your allotted breaks. Taking breaks will allow you time to rest and recover, to eat and drink and just do something that has no focus or relevance to your work whatsoever. This is important as it can affect your productivity and can re-energize you for the second half of your day. Taking your much-needed breaks also gets you up and about which as previously stated can impact your mental health. It gets you moving which is one of the contributing factors to ill-mental health.
Taking breaks also decreases your chance of burn-out and can affect your physical health too as it forces you to do something other than look at a computer screen all day which can cause headaches.
Thanks for reading this weeks blog, we hope that we have addressed some of the challenges with transitioning to working from home and that you have found our advice and tips useful. We hope that this blog is useful for you not only now during Corona virus but also if the future should you ever be torn between working remotely or from your job site.
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