Working from home was once considered by many to be something of a luxury; however, thanks to the Covid-19 lockdown, it has become a mainstay among large companies and small. On paper being able to work from the comfort of your own home without the need to travel anywhere or navigate office life sounds amazing. Sitting in a comfy chair, drinking endless cups of coffee while wearing just your pyjamas and sporting some major bed hair; but to let you in on a little secret, it’s not all jogging bottoms and Netflix.
Working from home is sometimes more difficult than going into the office. There can be days when you don’t feel motivated or you keep getting distracted and others where household chores are calling your name while emails pour into your inbox, each one demanding your urgent attention.
Tips for working from home
For the best chance of staying sane and, more importantly, productive while working from home, here are some of the best ideas to enable this:
- Structure your day like you would in the office – Use online calendars and create personal events to help you change focus onto a different task, boost productivity and stay motivated.
- Choose a dedicated workspace – Just because you’re not working at the office, that doesn’t mean you can’t, well, have an office. Dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to work.
- Make it harder for yourself to mess around on social media – Social media is designed to make it easy for you to open and browse quickly. Put all your apps in a folder away from the main screen to curb the temptation, or use a limiting app for your phone.
- Plan out what you will be working on ahead of time – It is important to commit to an agenda that outlines your various assignments before you start work. Try solidifying your schedule the day before, making it feel more official when you wake up the next day to get started.
- Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you – Make sure any roommates, siblings, spouses, children and dogs (well, maybe not dogs) respect your space and time during work hours. Just because you are working from home does not mean you’re at home and available for doing chores or to entertain.
- Take clear breaks – Don’t let the guilt of working in the same building that you sleep and relax in prevent you from taking five minutes to chill out. Rather than just opening YouTube and watching some comfort clips, however, use your breaks to get away from your desk and get some exercise.
- Prepare your meals the night before – Preparing food ahead of time ensures you can use your meal times to eat, and that you are not performing non-work tasks such as chopping carrots or buttering bread that used up energy better employed at your desk.
- Pick a definitive finishing time each day – Working from home can sometimes feel like being at a casino, in that you can get so caught up in your activity that you lose complete track of time. Keep one eye on the clock as you head towards the end of your working day and make sure you finish on time.
- Avoid social isolation – As distracting as some office environments can be and as calming working alone from home might seem, there is nothing like having colleagues you enjoy working alongside and catching up with throughout the day. Make time to connect with others, even if it is a quick phone call or video chat
- Upgrade your equipment – Upgrading your audio and video tech is easy from a technical perspective and relatively affordable. It will dramatically improve your production values in virtual meetings, avoiding all the setup times and delays around connection issues.
- Keep your attitude in check – Above all, don’t let your confined circumstances dwarf your tranquillity, happiness or productivity. Your greatest power is your perspective. It can victimise you or empower you. Always look for the upside in any negative situation, figure out what you can and cannot control and act accordingly.
When working from home, the expectations are often the same as if you were still in the office, yet the environment is most definitely not. It’s not always an easy transition to move your work life into your home, but the key to working-from-home success is to use the tips above and create an environment that allows you to focus on the tasks at hand.
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