Many companies are now recommending that employees work from home to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. While that might be easy for some, who have been doing it for a while, but for so many others Work From Home is a new reality and that will take some time getting used to. If you are one of them and need tips, you are at the right place. Keep reading…
Working from home has its own drawbacks and benefits, whether you do it by choice or by necessity. Like, on one hand, it means you can get that extra hour of sleep which you would loose to get ready and commute to work.
But on the other hand, it also means that it’s up to you to setup your home office and get as much out of your time as you can.
I have partially worked for a while from home, and I know it’s not an easy transition. You miss the commute, making tea/coffee in office, attending meetings face to face and so on. I have 7 tips to share to make the best of the situation and keep yourself accountable, collaborative, and productive.
1. Schedule regular breaks
One of the first things I noticed when I started Work From Home was that I moved less. No longer was I up and down to meetings or just moving around the office talking to people. I would delay my breakfast or lunch to finish a task or just skip it. A part of my commute was to walk but that was not happening anymore. This all makes you really insane.
Its very important to take breaks in between to keep oneself sane. I would strongly advise just getting out and going for a walk and moving. Walk the dog, walk to the shop, get some fresh air. Make tea/coffee as you would usually do in office, have time dedicated to just have your lunch and never skip breakfast. Put a break reminder on your computer if you find it difficult.
2. Dedicate a Space for work
One thing that I’ve found massively important while Working From Home is the notion of setting, and making sure that you create a space which is solely for work.
Without the physical workspace that an office provides, it’s super easy to use the same space for non-work and work related activities. This often leads to you being easily distracted when you’re meant to be working, or working when you should be relaxing!.
Consider what environment you work best in, do you need natural light, do you need silence or ambient noise. Always keep the desk you work on tidy! put away distractions, organise and move all the posts, books, magazines or that playstation controller. It will help you focus and reduce interruptions if someone else needs to grab one of those things too.
3. Schedule a start and stop point of your day
Another one of my tip is to create a start and stop point to your day. Having Worked From Home for a while, I found the lines between home life and work life blurring way too much.
I find myself starting to work from 6:30 am at times and at times I end up working till 7:30 pm in the evening at a stretch. This would cause delay in getting my kid and husband ready on time in the morning or delay the dinner prep.
Since I didn’t have commute time, I never made that ‘unplug’ to “get home” and get in the right head space ad in the mornings while briefly checking emails I subconsciously star working as well.
Though this majorly applies for family life, BUT individually you owe it to yourself to unplug and be present with your friends, partner, or self too. Don’t go straight to work after you wake up, and switch off that laptop (or just shut work applications if you want to use your computer for something else) and just ‘Unplug’ once you are done.
4. Stay motivated with a list
If you are in a habit of creating a to do list in office, don’t stop now. A simple to do list can do wonders and keep you organised and motivated. This way you don’t have to constantly remember things to do in your head. Checking off those tasks one by one let’s you know that you are making progress and it keeps you productive.
5. Check in on the Ergonomic.
In office we have desks, screens and chairs that are adjustable for different heights. At home too, its okay if you can’t dedicate an entire room to your home office, you just need to have some area that defines when you’re at work, and when not working.
Get a comfortable chair for work, sitting in a bad posture throughout the day while you work is going to give you back pain and other issues.
6. Create Boundaries.
Creating boundaries is really necessary, if a partner or roommate is working from home and/or school are closed.
Other people in your home like your flatmates, partner or children, also need to be able to understand where they might be disturbing you while you work, and where they can walk around or move without distracting you and vice versa.
A small space means you’ll be able to hear everything everyone else is doing while you’re trying to work, and vice versa.
All of these tips are great, but it’s still important to talk to them, and make sure you all understand each other.
With children, who may not get the concept of “boundaries”, your best bet may be convenient distractions, that engage them but still keep them away from you, while you work.
Consider giving them “learning stations” to use while you work, so they can hang out with you without being bothering.
7. Take care of your mental health.
One drawback of working remotely is that it’s easier to fall victim to isolation, this happens specially when you are just getting started on working from home, or if you’ve not had to do it before. You have your coworkers on messengers or in whatsapp groups, you still receive boatload of emails.
But as good as all that is, it’s not a complete substitute for real, live human interaction. You may need to put more effort into creating this for yourself when working remotely for longer than a day. My tip here would be to call instead of email.
Sometimes it is so much quicker and easier to email but calling and speaking to someone is sometimes better then answering emails and can ease any possible feelings of isolation. Be aware of your mood. Check in with yourself if you find yourself going stir crazy and take proactive action.