Working from home has become the norm for a lot of people over the last year (for those lucky enough to be able to anyway). Despite lockdown looking to be ending over the coming months, it’s likely that some of you will be facing the possibility of remote working becoming a permanent fixture, with only a few days in the office. If lockdown has shown businesses anything, it’s that it is possible for their employees to productively work from home. If you’re one of these people and you’ve struggled to work from home, the prospect of doing so permanently, or even semi-permanently, might be a little discouraging. So, whether you’re struggling to find the motivation or your routine has just gone out the window, here’s 8 useful tips for working from home to help you.
8 tips for working at home
1. CREATE A SPECIFIC WORKSPACE
Remember when walking into the office and sitting at your desk would switch you into work mode? That’s because it was a space solely for work and completely separate from your personal life. That’s what you need to try and recreate at home, albeit it won’t be completely separate from your personal life. Having a specific space or area will help increase productivity and (hopefully) limit distractions. It’s best if your setup includes a desk, as it’ll help you maintain good posture and leave work behind at the end of the day. If you don’t have a desk, or the space to incorporate one, a dining table is the next best thing. Do not work in bed because, even if you find you work well there, it might end up affecting your ability to wind down and/or sleep.
2. HAVE AN “OFFICE ATTIRE”
Now, I’m not saying you need to get all suited and booted – ain’t nobody got the effort for that! However, just like having a designated workspace sets your mind up for work, so does getting dressed and ready for the day. Plus, it means you’re already sorted for those pesky Zoom meetings – especially if they’re unexpected. My work attire consists of joggers and a jumper… the well-known comfies. I’m SO glad I’ll only be wearing actual office attire for a few days every couple of months.
3. STICK TO SET WORKING HOURS
Just like you should try and keep a separate workspace, you should also be pretty clear about your working hours too. Working from home makes it all too easy to just keep working until you’re finished a task. However, you’re likely to exhaust yourself if this becomes a regular habit. Sticking to your regular working hours will help keep you working at your best. Plus, it’ll make it easier if and when you return to the office.
4. TAKE BREAKS
Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean that you should be skipping your breaks. Sitting all day, even in the office, isn’t healthy… but at home there are fewer reasons to move around; no printer/copier, no water machine and no fellow employees to go see/speak to. Aside from the physical downside, not taking a break can affect you mentally too; tire you out, make you feel overwhelmed, etc. So, make sure you’re not only taking regular breaks, but also taking your full breaks. Go make a cuppa, put some washing on or even just take a 5 minute break in the garden.
5. TRY AND STICK TO YOUR ROUTINE
Do you have a typical routine before, during and after work? If so, it’s probably a good idea to try and stick to them. It might sound like such a simple thing, but we’re all guilty of falling out of our routines, and it’ll help to keep some normality. Plus, your before and during work routines will help keep you in the work frame of mind, leaving you working at your best! It’ll certainly make any transition heading back to the office easier too.
6. ENGAGE WITH OTHERS
Working from home can be extremely isolating, especially if you live alone. Don’t just rely on email as your primary form of communication. It can become pretty tedious and flat plus you can’t engage properly with others. Pick up the phone and have a chat with a colleague, even just for a few minutes; or utilise some form of social messaging platform. Messaging rather than emailing takes away the formalities and means you actually chat a little bit more. Also, if you regularly have Zoom meetings, perhaps suggest to the organiser having 5/10 minutes of “social” time at the start/end of the call.
7. GET OUT THE HOUSE
Perhaps the hardest part of working from home is the ease of which we become locked within the same 4 walls. Make a conscious effort to get out and get some fresh air; whether that be a quick walk around the block, a shopping trip for some groceries or even just a cuppa in the garden.
8. SET SOME GROUND RULES FOR THOSE YOU LIVE WITH
Even those who are accustomed to working from home may find themselves about to gain a permanent WFH buddy. If this is the case, then it’s time to set up some ground rules to limit your distractions. If you’re going to be sharing a workspace then have a daily morning check-in with each other. This will allow you to ensure schedules, particularly phone/Zoom meetings, don’t overlap. Also, make sure you discuss your preferred working styles; not everyone likes to work in silence, while not everybody likes to listen to the radio/music. If these working styles are not compatible, then you might want to look at separate workspaces.
So, that’s my 8 tips on working from home. If you are struggling, just remember that WFH does take some getting used to. So, if you’re not quite there yet, be patient with yourself and remind yourself that you’re doing amazing!
Are there any tips you think I’ve missed? If so, let me know down below!
Until next time,