As workers around the world navigate these challenging times, many of us are having to acclimatise to new working environments. Except these environments are also quite familiar, because they are our homes.
While some may have preferred to keep their home and work lives separate, working from home is one of those benefits many other people love. Many businesses already have work from home policies in place that employees can use where required, yet the idea of working remotely from your lounge, study or kitchen for the foreseeable future can feel quite daunting.
The reality is, working from home can actually be difficult to get used to. However, it’s comforting to remember that we’re all in this together, and in that spirit, we’ve put together a list of top tips for those still becoming accustomed to this temporary new way of working.
1. Set up a dedicated workspace
Creating a clean, tidy and comfortable area to work will help to draw a line between work and personal time. It can also help you feel more productive by making you feel separated from the distractions at home. While it might be tempting to work from your sofa or bed, working at a desk or table will prove more comfortable in the longer term and will help you to maintain a good posture.
2. Stick to a routine
Without a daily routine in place, you could find your work-life balance suffers. Sticking as closely as possible to your normal daily structure can minimise the disruption of working from home. This includes holding your regular team meetings online and taking breaks at the same time that you would in the office.
3. Give yourself time to wake up
You might be able to afford a bit of a lay in, but you should still get out of bed at a reasonable time, shower, dress and have a breakfast so you’re fully prepared for the working day to begin. It also helps to keep an eye on the time and make sure you’re not working longer hours than you would in the office so you don’t end up feeling burnt out.
4. Give yourself regular screen intervals
It’s important to ensure you regularly stand up and walk around or stretch to improve your blood flow and give your eyes a break from the screen. This can also help to break up the monotony of staying in the same space all day, in turn helping you to concentrate on your work.
5. Make time to exercise
Why not spend some of the time you’ve gained from not having to commute doing exercise? There are plenty of free online exercise classes you can take, or you could simply take a quick stroll on before or after work which can help to improve your work-life balance.
6. Take your full lunch break
It might be tempting to take a shorter lunch break when you spend your break time confined to the same space you’re working in and you can hear those email notifications pinging away. However, it’s important to give yourself time to relax and recuperate. If you don’t, you might find yourself being less productive even though you’re spending more time in front of your computer.
7. Keep in touch with your colleagues
It’s easy to feel isolated working from home so it helps to stay in touch with colleagues – even the ones you don’t work closely with every day. Both casual and work-related chat is good for overall morale in your business and regular human contact is uplifting. However, it’s important not to overload your colleagues with too many communications as there can be increased email traffic when everybody is forced to work from home.
8. Choose specific platforms for communicating
Make sure you limit communications to certain channels, otherwise you and those in your business can quickly become overwhelmed by constant notifications across various platforms. This can be frustrating and counterproductive, particularly if you have different conversations, spanning different messaging apps making them harder to keep track of and both you and your colleagues less productive.
9. Give yourself some background noise
Being shut away at home can be eerily quiet compared to working in an office and as strange as it sounds, sometimes that silence can make it harder to focus when you’re used to the chatter of a busy working environment. Putting the TV or radio on at a quiet volume can be an effective way to make you feel more productive by providing the background noise you’re used to.
10. Log off at the end of working day
Without thoughts of your commute giving the you the feeling that you need to log off and leave, it’s easy to find yourself still sat working late in the evening. Ultimately this can lead to burnout, so unless you need to complete an urgent task, it’s important to log off when the working day is over.
Hopefully these tips will help you to make the best of working from home. If these are useful to you, why not share them with your team to ensure they’re coping too. The important thing is to stay positive and remember that we’re all in this together.