Week 6 into lockdown and for many, the idea of working from home may be relief and at the same time, equally daunting. We should be used to it by now – those of us who can work and are working from home right now anyway.
Some of us have mastered the tricks, others are dealing with kids running in and out of the room whilst we’re on video calls and important meetings. No one said it was going to be easy…
But what is certain is that the way we work is going to have to change. A lot more of us are going to have to get used to working from home, and, we’ve also become more trusted both as employers and employees in these strange times.
With the proliferation of new technology that is helping us navigate working from home daily, we know that it is possible to do many of the things that we would do in the office.
However, there are still plenty of us dealing with working from home and it’s sometimes good to get an idea on how to do it just that little bit better.
1. Pretend that you’re working in the office
One of the bad habits that people get themselves into is not getting dressed for work or using the time at home as if they were at the office. Do the things you would do as if you were going to the office. Get your coffee, get dressed, have your internet browsers with plugins all set up and login to your emails straight away.
2. Organise your day
Working from home can be hard for those who find it harder to structure their workload. The key tip here is to organise your day. From scheduling meetings/catch ups to working on specific items in your work calendar. It could be that your schedule your admin at the end of the day and your more productive work at the start, or vice versa. Use calendar prompts to help guide you through the day.
3. Start early, finish earlier
One of the benefits of working from home is that you suddenly have more time. From less commuting in the morning to the afternoon on your return the average UK worker will be saving upto 9 hours per week. What this also means is that you can afford to start a little earlier and finish earlier as a consequence. On really productive days you will be getting through a lot more essential work and clearing those all important to-do lists in the interim.
4. Prepare your workspace
Having a bespoke fitted space is the best solution for those who are regular homeworkers – and yes, we can help you with that – but for those who are finding themselves in this situation, the important thing is creating a working environment that you can separate from the rest of the household if possible.
The important thing with creating your set-up is that you try and keep the areas of your home for leisure in a different place to the areas of your home for working.
The essential items for working from home include;
- A sturdy desk
- Good lighting (desk lamps, built in lamps, window)
- Basic storage space
5. Take out the basic distractions
Where possible, when you’re working from home, avoid the basic distractions. Try and not work in a room where there is a TV – or if there is one, don’t put it on. Also, there are lots of apps and internet browser plugins which stop you from jumping onto social media or websites which will cause distractions as well.
6. Plan in breaks
When you work from home it’s easy to get bogged down in the work and unlike the office where you may be getting out of your chair to see a colleague or grab a drink, at home, it becomes easier to not move around; before you know it, you’ve been sat down for a few hours.
From a health perspective, this is not the best thing for you. So set a timer to get up and walk around every 25 – 30 minutes for a few minutes each time. Also, plan in a bigger break. It may be a walk at the end of your working day or during lunch. The important thing is to get some fresh air and obviously, give yourself some mental rest whilst pushing your body to do something other than sitting.
7. Have regular catch-ups
One of the benefits of modern technology is that you can keep in touch with your team throughout the day. Things like google meet, zoom, skype and even just picking up the telephone will all help with communications to the business and to team members alike.
Schedule these calls once in the morning and once in the afternoon. You can share documents through share drives and even on presentations through the technology. The reality is that you can stay in touch and also be seen by your work mates rather easily these days.
8. Work at your most productive hours
This may not be possible for those who have to check-in regularly with the team, but there will be certain tasks that you do better at certain times of the day. To be as productive as possible remember to schedule in some of those more productive tasks at times when you are at your peak to do them. For some, this could be first in the morning, for others, later on in the day.
9. Don’t work in silence
If you work in an office environment usually, one of the unknown elements is that you are surrounded by sound on a regular basis. Working from home changes that, especially if you are working from home and you’re by yourself or even if you have kids/family running around it’s not the same background noise.
Having a radio on low volume or even a playlist from Spotify (such as a Focus one) can help you get into a working mode, quicker. It cuts out distractions and also can help you focus on the task that you’re doing.
10. Pick a finishing time – and stick to it!
A lot of regular home workers will tell you that one of the problems of working from home is that you can never truly switch off. Well, whilst that may be the case for many one of the things you can do is stop working at a set time. Like you would in the office, and because you don’t have to commute it’s easy to think that you can stay in your chair but, what you should do is get up and leave your working environment.
Log off, clean your workspace and move to a different area of the house.
These are just ten tips to help you survive working from home. What are the tips you have to help others? We’d love to know.