10 Tips for Working from Home
With recent instructions from the government to go back to working from home (where you can), people are beginning to settle in for the foreseeable future and give themselves a more permanent 'office' space at home. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a dedicated room in the house but it is important to try and create the boundary between home and work. Here are our ten tips to keep you productive while working remotely!
1. Maintain your typical working hours. Many of us who work in an office environment will work from 9-5. Keep this routine up when WFH as this will make it easier to switch off come 5pm when you finish. One issue with remote working is that people either get distracted by household chores and find they spend less time on their work or go the other way and feel pressured to work much longer hours. It will also make it easier to adjust when you do go back into the office.
2. Take time for a break! Sitting on a computer for 8/9 hours at a time really is not good for you. Even in the office you would take the time for a tea break and lunch, so make sure that you do take time to take a break away from the computer. And don’t just wolf down your lunch and get back to work - if you struggle to take a break, set an alarm on your phone and don’t go back to work until it goes off!
3. Have a dedicated office space (where possible). Even if it is the dining table or even the corner of the kitchen, make sure you have a space where you can work without any distractions. As tempting as it is to sit on the sofa watching Netflix in the background this is something you need to steer well clear of. Maintaining that psychological separation between your working space and living space makes it easier to switch off from work.
4. Get dressed (even if its only half dressed)! As tempting as it is to stay in your pyjamas all day it is incredibly unprofessional to be sat in your dressing gown during a zoom meeting. Take the time to do your hair or put on a spot of make-up and at least change out of your pyjama top into something half smart.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Everyone (even the most disciplined workers!) will have off days where they are easily distracted and get very little done - and that is fine! Just start with a clean slate the following day.
6. Your work space needs to be as comfortable as possible. This means investing in a suitable chair and desk, being hunched over a laptop on a hardback chair will only leave you with terrible neck and back pain. Try to make sure that you also have a decent light source, squinting to see will only be damaging to your eyes and could give you a headache.
7. Make it homely. Some people tend to leave office areas as clutter-free and clinical as they can. You don't necessarily have to fill it with trinkets but a house plant and a picture of your family will make it a much nicer place to be.
8. Find some background noise or music. Some people find it easier to work with something in the background, whether it's the radio on low, the sounds of people moving about in the office or some sort of white noise. Silence can be golden but we're not generally used it as we go about our day even if we don't consciously hear the noises around us. There are websites that can emulate all kinds of noises - including coffee shops, office workers, waterfalls, forests and churches. www.mynoise.net is a great free one we found. Alternatively, others can get motivated by music so if it's not going to interrupt a call or meeting, find the genres or artists that will aid your productivity in certain tasks and turn up the volume!
9. Plan your day. Prioritise important tasks and work on them when you're most motivated. If you're very tired in the mornings and find it hard to wake up, don't plan meetings or phone calls for then.
10. Make sure people know that if you're at home you are still working. Just because you aren't physically in your workplace, it doesn't mean they can ring you up for a quick chat, ask you to run a quick errand or pop out for a cuppa. Family and friends need to respect your time just as much as they did when you worked elsewhere.
For some, working from home is something that they could have never imagined would happen. It's best to create a comfortable working environment to help be as productive as possible and be able to switch off at the end of the day. Do you work from home? What tips can you give?