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How to do high performance at home?

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We’re now into almost a month of remote working, and the old rulebook is officially out the window. Whether it’s a shared workspace with pets and babies, information overload or communication breakdowns, our new ways of working have the potential to make or break us during these challenging times.

Now’s the time to get back to basics and make Mazlow proud by satisfying our hierarchy of needs from the ground up. With that in mind, we asked our team to share their own personal insights for taking care of your mind, body and social needs when it’s all about social-distancing.

Be your body’s best friend

Our most basic, instinctual needs is our physical health, and a little extra TLC is key to your motivation, productivity and performance.


Marshall Dunn
Move your body right

Remember when you could get up from your comfy chair and visit a co-worker for a chat, make a tea in the kitchen, move from meeting room to standing desk, step outside for 30 plus minutes for lunch… those were the days. Now, working from home, I find myself fastened to my screen, glued to my desk and struggling to find opportunities to get up and move around. The solution is two-fold: Ergonomics and exercise. 

Make sure your desk, chair and screen are set up so you’re comfortable, then use this checklist to make sure your ergonomics are on point.

  • Feet flat on the floor?
  • Arms at right angles while typing?
  • Seat fitted to the curve of your lower back?
  • Legs at right angles?
  • Shoulders relaxed?
  • Keyboard flat?
  • Mouse and keyboard at same level?
  • Screen at eye level or just below?

Now comes movement. Stretch and move your body at every opportunity that presents itself to avoid joint pain, muscle tension and tightness. ‘Commute’ to and from work with a quick jog. Have a yoga mat on hand in the living room. Fish out your FitBit and keep track of your every movement. Bedroom carpet hamstring hangs, chest openers against walls, quick dance-offs between VCs – it all adds up. It’s the difference between leaping out of COVID a new person, or slouching back to work, and it’s up to you.

Nicola Hutchinson
Start your day with hot water and lemon

‘Health is wealth’ right now (and always). One daily morning ritual that will keep you glowing from the inside out is hot water with lemon on an empty stomach. It’s one of the simplest yet most effective things you can add to your daily routine to optimise your health. 

5 benefits:

  • Regulates the pH balance of the body.
  • Assists in fighting infections.
  • Helps maintain digestive health.
  • The anti-inflammatory properties in lemons help in fighting respiratory tract infections, sore throats and inflamed tonsils.
  • Along with vitamin C, lemons are also a rich source of potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.

Lily Lambert
Resist ‘opportunity snacking’

Our former ballerina Lily says snacking in the office is a great source of energy – but at home, it can be an ongoing temptation, and an all too frequent excuse to take yet another break. Schedule and prepare your meals and snacks ahead of time to cut down on trips to the pantry.  Choose high protein, low GI lunches. Stick to healthy snacks like veggie sticks, greek yoghurt and berries or roasted chickpeas. And save the treats for an end of day reward. If you need a little added self-control, find a friend to be your healthy snack ‘sponsor’ and support each other to snack right. Finally, staying hydrated will also curb your hunger, so keep your reusable water bottle full and close by

Massage the right mindset

Your mind is the greatest tool you have at your disposal. Cut out the noise and optimise your processing power with these simple thought-starters.


Marshall Dunn
Don’t hesitate to meditate

Struggling with uncertainty at present? Is there underlying anxiety within you of what’s to come in the following months? Is everything just a little TOO MUCH? These are completely normal responses, especially given the context. One way to calm the mind, and build an inner-posture of resilience and presence is through meditation. Remember, meditation is a practice not a performance, so take your time and start small. The key here is consistency. Small, consistent wins of calm each day will compound over weeks and months to help you stay grounded and clear in the face of adversity. There are many meditation apps like Calm or Headspace, which give simple starting points. But if I were you, I’d join us at WAU for weekly guided meditation and integration sessions:) Register your interest for our session next Monday 20th April here.

Andrew Fisher
Accentuate the positive

With so much going on in the world, it can be hard to cut through the negativity and focus on the good. Make a small list each day – three to five things – which could be as simple as your partner making you breakfast, or your dog’s adoring eyes. Place no limits on what you are grateful for. The key is – find the feeling it evokes and be specific with the details. Then take some time to reflect. Sitting with the elevated emotion of gratitude will do wonders for your mood and perspective.

Rachel Wotherspoon
Put your goals on paper

Don’t put your goals on hold. Combat energy drain, and shift into inspiration gain by creating a Vision Board. Find a cork board or poster and bring together a collage of photos, words, quotes, anything you like that’s visual and evokes feelings of love, inspiration, joy and excitement. Keep your visions grounded and aligned with your highest values as a human being. Then place it somewhere that you’ll see it often, and spend 10 minutes each day moving into the feeling of this vision as you look at it.

Take care of your inner socialite

Without the intimacy and support of healthy relationships, it’s difficult to develop a sense of belonging, and fighting off anxiety and dwindling motivation can become difficult. Addressing your social needs is particularly tricky in the current climate, but there are creative solutions to be found.


Marshall Dunn
Be a good neighbour

With less direct access to the outside world, it becomes difficult to feel your impact on society and your motivation can take a real hit. But the reality is you’re far from alone. 

Make a difference where it counts and connect (at a distance) with your local community. Being a productive member of your neighbourhood is a great way to make a direct impact and kickstart your self-worth.

  • Start having your morning coffee at your front door and share a long distance greeting with any neighbours you see. 
  • See if your neighbourhood has a Facebook community, message board or chat group. If they don’t, start one yourself. 
  • If you know any older neighbours who might not be as comfortable online, call them on the phone to check in. Better yet, if you have kids, set them up with an art and craft project and drop it off at your neighbours door (obviously, while keeping a safe distance).

Nick Tucker
Share your space with others

With the line between work and home well and truly blurred, it’s time to establish some new boundaries to make sure everyone can co-exist peacefully and comfortably.

  • No matter how big or small, make sure everyone has a space in the house that is theirs and theirs alone.
  • Get together with your cohabitors and write a list of guidelines to support everyone’s productivity
  • Book in a feedback session with your cohabitor/coworker. Think about them like any other colleague and share constructive tips for how you can make each other’s lives easier. Teamwork makes the dream work.
  • Bonus tip: I have found that if I set expectations with clients about the noise that my kids make it strengthens our relationship. Instead of pulling the BBC Dad, embrace it because we are all struggling without our typical support network.

Alexander Annand
Community = Comfort 

Don’t underestimate the power of a familiar voice or a friendly face to put your mind at ease. Podcasts have been a particular source of joy for me during isolation. Regular interactions with the same group of people help build a sense of routine and normalcy, and add some structure to all the chaos. For some added solidarity, try Staying in With Emily and Kumail, an isolation ‘support group’ podcast hosted by social worker Emily Gordon and her husband, actor Kumail Nanjiani.

We’re working hard to build high performance habits – and helping our partners do the same with their people. For the now, and whatever comes next. If your organisation needs some extra help with the heavy lifting right now, our team are standing by to get you up and running. Get in touch now, at hello@weareunity.com

April 15, 2020, We Are Unity