Following the government’s advice that everyone work from home if possible, many of us are having our first experience of doing so for an extended period of time. It can be easy to get demotivated and develop bad working habits on your own in the home, so we’ve got five tips for staying on top during the coming weeks and months.
1. Get dressed
It may seem like a good excuse to stay in your pyjamas all day, but getting dressed as if you were going to leave the house will help to gear up your brain for work and can help build a sense of normality as you maintain some of your regular routines. You should also consider how you’ll appear if you’re on video calls with clients during your time working from home.
2. Establish a workspace
Find a spot in the home where you can sit comfortably and that has good lighting and make that your dedicated workspace for your time working from home. It may be tempting to just sink into the sofa with your laptop, but delineating where you work in the house from where you relax will help to keep you motivated and ensure you still have good work/life boundaries. Again, going to your workspace at your usual starting time and leaving it at your usual finishing time will help to maintain a routine as well, keeping you in a good working mindstate.
3. Music? News? Silence?
When working from home we have more control over our environment than in a shared office, and you should find what works for you to pass the day. Some people find having rolling news on makes them more stressed and worried, but others feel it gives them a vital connection to the outside world. Some of us will find that actually working in silence helps us focus – while others will find themselves zoning out unless they put music on. Try all your options and see what works best for you and your approach to work.
4. Walks and Breaks.
A blast of fresh air does the brain a world of good and, weather and health permitting, we strongly recommend taking some time outdoors whenever you can while you’re working remotely. Under current government guidance at the time of publishing, unless you’re self-isolating it’s still absolutely ok and even encouraged to go outside for exercise and health – you just need to make sure you do it alone and maintain your distance from other people who are out and about. Maybe try a short walk during the time you would normally have your lunch break and a longer one after work. It’s also important to take breaks throughout the day. Some people when working from home feel a pressure to be ultra-productive and always in front of their laptop, but in the same way that at the office you would normally leave your desk every now and then to make coffee, it’s good to break up the day with short periods of time away from the keyboard when you work from home.
5. Stay in touch with your team
It’s easy to feel cut off when working from home, and it’s important to stay in contact with the rest of your time. In addition to a morning meeting with your team, it can be helpful to compensate for not being in the same room by confirming when you’ve completed tasks or received messages – the sort of thing you’d normally just say out loud across the desk can become a quick e-mail that helps everyone feel connected throughout the day.
It’s a big adjustment for a lot of us, but with the right attitude and approach, we can all make a great success of our time working from home.