Working from home with Dylan Salamon, hasta’s Director of Wellbeing

Here we go again. As the Economist pointed out, we live in an era of predictable unpredictability, one full of twists and turns that drastically impact us.

It’s been a week since the new working from home guidance was put in place and it seems like Groundhog Day. We do, however, have an opportunity to make this a productive time. As we have been here before, we need to learn from our mistakes, bad habits and make sure that this working from home stint is productive for our mind, body, soul and work.

We’re going to be checking in with our wellbeing experts each week to see how they’re getting on, what measures they’ve put in place for a valuable experience and what lessons they’ve learnt along the way.

First up, it’s our very own Director of Wellbeing, Dylan Salamon.

Dylan, talk us through your typical ‘working from home’ routine.

“So, I wake up at 6 am for a 15s cold shower (it isn’t enough for a huge benefit, but I love it), followed by 15 minutes of complete quiet time and journaling. This is the mental health part of my day. I’m a morning person through and through and crave structure to help productivity and any negative thoughts Being a morning person, I try and complete any important and cerebral work before 8am whilst I’m completely undistracted. 

“I receive three meals a day from Fresh Fitness Foods, so will have my first meal before sharing a dog walk with my partner. The next few hours of the day are spent working before trying to fit in exercise before lunch. 

“Another quick dog walk and lunch helps me to get out of the house. The rest of the workday is likely filled with online meetings and emails before our final dog walk after dinner. It’s never nice doing it in the dark, but it’s a good way of getting quality that crucial time with my partner outside of the house. 

“My day ends with trying to stretch in front of the TV, instead of just slumping in front of it. I feel this is a fantastic way to finish, even if you’ve had an unproductive day. Then, if it’s up to me, we’re getting ready for bed at 9.30 pm.”

How do you maintain emotional connections with colleagues, and do you find this difficult?

“This is most certainly difficult because it’s so easy to slip into only ever talking about work. As we are still technically a start-up, there’s always more work to be done. Three of my colleagues are old friends, and it’s nice that we spend so much time together, but we often have to forcibly differentiate work chat from friendship.”

What’s your workspace set up like? 

“I’m very lucky to have enough space to bring a screen home and actually set up away from the TV or kitchen table. It’ll likely be the only saving grace for my back this winter!”

How do you like to unwind after a day of working from home?

“Reading is one of my great loves, but oddly I’ve found it hard to make time for it while working from home. Evening stretching is also the single, best thing you can add to your end-of-day routine. For most people, they’re already in front of the telly, so why not just do it from a “yin” position?”

Whilst working from home has many advantages, it also has drawbacks – how do you stop yourself from getting into a negative headspace?

“If I’m being honest, I have yet to nail this. I think there are so many factors that affect my headspace, especially being part of an industry that is beholden to COVID fluctuations. Having said this, I believe that mindfulness is a tool that needs to be exercised at all points, to make you stronger for the lower ones.

“I’d encourage most people to force themselves into some sort of mindful practice so that they are simply more resilient to the negatives. I have to make sure I allocate time for this myself.

“Moving is also a fantastic way to combat negativity. The moment you’re feeling frustrated, you should stand up and do something physical – 25 squats, walk outside or swing your arms around 50 times. Just move.” 

It’s been said that remote working can lead to working longer, rather than more efficiently – what measures should we put in place to mitigate this?

“The last three lockdowns did promote an “always-on” culture that tended to mess with work-life balance and kept people in a constant state of stress. I believe the best solution for this is to forcibly remove your laptop from your immediate vicinity. But in reality, I know that when I truly need to shut off, I just have to leave my phone in a different room.”

For those who are prone to feelings of anxiety and loneliness, what do you suggest people put in place to ensure they are connected and supported?

“Get on the phone. Don’t text, WhatsApp or DM! Get on the phone and plan regular calls with whoever you’re missing. And unlike the past lockdowns, we’re still able to visit loved ones, so use the holiday period wisely (and safely) by visiting as many people as you can.”

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