Let’s face it, summer is very nearly over. Maybe you still have a sneaky end-of-season holiday planned or one last festival on the horizon, but chances are you’re returning to your normal working routine. For some of us, this can be quite a daunting time - our sense of freedom may once again feel challenged and uninterrupted working weeks threaten mundanity.
But, far from being a time to despair at summer-times gone past, this is a time which you can take active steps to make this purgatory all the more bearable, valuable, and even enjoyable. All it takes is a bit of initiative, a positive outlook, and you’ll soon be revelling in your new-found work routine. With this in mind here are our top tips to make going back to work your new favourite time of year - well, almost.
1. Escape the office
“Great ideas thrive in coffee shops and go to die in the nation’s meeting rooms…” Jacqueline de Rojas
It’s often been said that changing up your surroundings can not only change your perspective in a literal sense but also of your work. If you have the luxury of working from home every once in a while, use this time to work on creative tasks where you can use the being in your own space to your advantage. Working from home comes with just as many, if not more, distractions than an office, so be sure to create a clean, de-cluttered space in which you can devote your full attention to your work.
For those of us who cannot work at home (work permitting or simply find it too distracting), there are plenty of places to work remotely from. Of course, the classic ‘start-up’ work space is a coffee shop. Whilst this is a great option, also get to thinking about other places that might have WiFi which will help revitalise your motivation and productivity. Libraries, galleries, and theatres all often have WiFi and places to sit and gather your thoughts. Take the Barbican, for example, this awe-inspiring building is home to some of London’s pioneering art shows, exhibitions and even has its own gardens. This profound change of scenery offers a wholly new working space which will encourage an innovative mind set, and also provide a cool place to explore in your time away from your laptop screen.
2. Prime yourself with a podcast
Bored of the same old playlists, or resent listening to the now-bittersweet tunes which remind you of sunny summer memories? Podcasts are the way to go. On your commute, lunch time stroll or even while you’re working, podcasts are a great way to multitask without any effort required on your part. Apple Music has a whole host of free content, and apps such as Stitcher which also stream podcasts make listening on the go simple and easy. Whether you’re looking to learn something new about nutrition, gain a new philosophical perspective, find out what’s going on in the world of politics, or are simply looking to be entertained, there’s something out there that fits the bill.
3. Get fit with work
So you work with your colleagues, but do you work out with them? A pre-work boxing class or run is a great way to start the day on a high, with a little friendly competition pushing you all to perform at your best. Maybe a group of you are more inclined to a more laid-back session, why not book a post-work yoga class to ease away the stresses and strains of the day and give you all something to look forward to every week.
If you’re not too keen to get the whole group involved, try using some of your lunch breaks to squeeze in a midday exercise class or fast-paced walk a couple of days a week. Not only will you see an improvement in your fitness levels but also in your focus and mindset for the afternoon ahead - no more post-lunch slump.
4. Make lunch time an event
This is quite in the opposite to our previous point, but can make for a lovely way to perk up your day once a week or two. Most of us will agree that they look forward to their lunch, and it can be something which you can share with the rest of your colleagues. Organise a lunch where everyone that wants to be involved brings a dish for the office to share. You can try a whole host of different foods this way, and really see the skills your colleagues have to offer. Granted, it might not quite bring the same joy as a picnic in the park with a drink in hand, but we can at least pretend, right?
5. Contribute to your community
Finally, why not give yourself purpose outside of 9-5 by giving back to your community. Many of us simply live in the city without really contributing to its culture, environment, and the people which we share it with. There are plenty of initiatives to get involved with which really make a difference and positive drive in their communities. Here are just a few of our favourites:
- GoodGym: these guys are doing good with a spring in their step.
Planning runs to help community projects, to visit isolated older people in their homes for a chat or one-off task, GoodGym is the best motivation you’ll ever get to get your running shoes on. Contact them via their website to get involved.
- Cocktails in Care Homes: having a few social beverages with those with many stories to tell.
Giving a refreshing change to those used to early nights and often evenings in alone, Cocktails in Care Homes brings the party to those of the older generation. Throwing themed parties in care homes all over London, it’s an awesome way to meet new people of all ages. Simply get in touch to see when their next recruitment evening is.
- The People’s Fridge: making sure no food goes to waste.
Based in Brixton this volunteer run project encourages people to leave food that will go to waste for others in their community fridge. With donations from Pop Brixton’s vendors, and more restaurants, cafes and bakeries donating their goods it’s a goldmine for yummy treats, whole meals, baked good, fresh fruit, and veg. Head down to Pop Brixton to leave your own supply or pick up some steals for yourself.
Going back to work needn’t be so gloomy after all - even with autumn just around the corner. Let us know if you tried any of our suggestions and whether they worked for you. For more updates from us keep an eye on our Out Of Office Blog.