Another day at the (home) office

As lockdowns continue for the foreseeable future, stay motivated and mentally resilient while WFH with tips from the professionals who've been doing it for years


  • Staff

27 January 2021

“I’ve been working from home for seven years but even as someone used to it, these last 10 months have been hard. Make sure you take a lunch break – half an hour away from the desk sets you up for a better afternoon.”

David Ellis MRICS, owner of William Ellis


“For me the key is creating space between home life and work life. To do this, I have learnt the value of the fake commute. I take myself for a walk at the beginning and end of my day. This creates mental boundaries and provides all the benefits associated with walking outdoors too.”

Kate Taylor FRICS, self-employed


“Don’t beat yourself up about interruptions to your working day. We are all having to deal with life happening around us, whether homeschooling or trying to work in conjunction with a partner. You can’t always prepare or plan for what will interrupt that important Zoom call, but we can spend a lot of time worrying about it. Rest assured we are all in the same boat. If it happens, laugh it off, deal with the interruption if you can, and then move on.”

Rebecca Freeman FRICS, technical director, Countrywide Surveying Services


“Don't sweat the small stuff and control what you can.”

Paul Reaney MRICS, Ashlar Consulting


“I believe in a clear separation between work and home life. If need be put a sign on the door to your home office with your name and job title. That door is the gateway to work and keeps it separate from your home life. I also think getting dressed properly helps – a jacket and a tie gets me into work mode.

Nick Richardson FRICS, self employed


“I’ve incorporated spontaneity and fun into my week, to keep me mentally resilient. I do this through exercise, reading, coffee breaks and family pillow fights! I’ve also found avoiding a typical 9-5pm routine has made me more productive and happier. Instead, I try to work from a variety of places in the house to suit the task I am completing.”

Jordan Relfe MRICS, co-founder of LifeProven; Built for Life Podcast Host


“To keep motivated you’ve got to be goal orientated, rather than strictly deadline orientated, in order to allow for any extra calls from clients who are also home working.”

David Inman FRICS, DIEM Ltd


“I worked from home before COVID-19 so thought I would be used to it, but it has been testing. I recommend music in the background to mimic a working office. I have also found it useful to keep in contact with colleagues on different platforms, so the support is always there, in work as well as outside of it.”

Sara Coulson, surveyor, property services, Network Rail

“For mental resilience, don’t forget the market is cyclical. Today it goes down and tomorrow it goes up. The only thing you need to do is know your market, study it, follow its fluctuations and respect your client. If you have been fair with them, they or their referrals will come to you, whatever condition the market is in.

Adamo Piras, estate agent, Agent House UK


“Swimming keeps me sane.”

Dr Alexia Nalewaik FRICS, lecturer at American University


“This is something I picked up in March, during the last lockdown, and I haven't looked back. I aim to do all of them at least once a day, not that I always succeed... 

Life SAVERS   
Silence –
a moment of quiet as you wake up, to clarify your focus for the day
Affirmation –
 these phrases help train your brain to increase positive thoughts. 
Visualisation – 
like affirmations, these mental images help program your brain to have positive thoughts. 
Exercise –
increasing your heart rate first thing in the morning prepares you for the day. 
Reading –
acquire knowledge and broaden your horizons. 
Scribing –
write down your thoughts to gain more insight and articulate your hopes and goals.”

Richard Golding, senior designer, Gleeds


RICS professionals are invited to join our Mental Health group on the RICS Yammer Insight Community to share your views and experiences, openly discuss mental wellbeing with fellow professionals, and access supporting resources from LionHeart – the charity for RICS professionals