Working from home has somewhat become the norm in these uncertain times. I have worked from home on and off over the years – and to be completely honest – I have found myself to be most efficient at home. I am able to focus and be more efficient. And as a bonus no stuffy suits are required and rather selfishly, I can decorate my space the way I want to (I worked in a rather bright lime green office once – needed my sunglasses indoors – hated it – gave me a headache!).
Productivity at home can be difficult to achieve with Netflix just a click away and a bed very closeby. There are many distractions for me at home right now with interruptions from my daughter who I am homeschooling, a husband who I’m hoping to get to finish off some DIY projects, me wanting to spend time outside in the sunshine, or even other things I’d rather be doing like planning my ensuite renovations etc!
I have rounded up some working from home tips that are working for me. I’ve also included some essentials if you are planning to set up a new working space.
Set up your space
Although I have a guest bedroom that doubles up as an office space, I have had to create working spaces for two additional people. My daughter and I are working from the dining room table and my husband from the spare room because he needs to make and receive audio and video calls. As you can imagine it’s a little bit hectic at the moment, but creating your space is important for your productivity. You may not have a spare room or enough space in your home for an office desk. However, you can set up a small working space for yourself that could be on your dining table like I have, a corner in your kitchen, or even on the sofa ( just not the bed if you can help it). If you are using the sofa – get yourself a little laptop desk or a stool to put your laptop and notebook. If, like me, you are in isolation with others, make sure you each have a designated space for work.
Make sure that you keep your space clean and tidy. Keep it as minimum as possible – with just the essentials and limited distractions and clear up your space at the end of every working day.
Re-establish your daily routine. I know the bed can be very comfortable when one doesn’t have to travel into work, and that a lie-in is the norm at the moment. However, treat your working from home day as any other day in the office. Get up at the same time, daily. Make your bed. Do not work from bed!! Shower and get dressed. Don’t stay in your pyjamas all day. Wear something comfortable, like smart loungewear (not a tracksuit) that makes you presentable in case of an unexpected zoom call! Have your breakfast and get your day started on time. A daily routine will make it a lot easier to get into the right frame of mind for the day.
Plan your day
I love writing a good list. I prefer writing my to-do list as I finish my work for the day. It ensures that I am efficient the following day and stops me from procrastinating. You could take it a step further and schedule specific times for each item on your to-do list – prioritising what is important and urgent i.e. your must do today items.
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Keep in touch with your colleagues
I bet shares in zoom have risen over the last few weeks! Keeping in touch with your colleagues or people within the same industry is still important even though you are at home and in isolation. You could schedule some time each week to catch-up and plan or even brainstorm ideas with colleagues. Checking up with each other could be a nice way to boost morale.
When I am working from home, I tend to zone out and can sit at the same spot for hours on end. With the weather outside being so wonderful at the moment, I am stealing some precious moments to go to the back garden for some fresh air, even if it be for a couple of minutes. Daily alfresco lunches with the family are also a welcome break for us. Make sure you include dedicated times for your coffee, lunch, and tea breaks in your schedule and use that time to move around and stretch. Who knows you might even be able to get your 10k steps a day done!
Work normal hours
It is very easy to be late to start work, have really long lunches, or even work much longer hours than you should when you don’t have a train to catch or a child to collect from school. Do your best to keep your normal working hours. Make it a rule to stop work on time – and to enjoy your evening. That means – physically putting the laptops, closing your notebooks are closed, and switching off the work mobile. Do what you need to do to make sure that you are not overworking because you ‘have the time’. It is good for your mental and physical health.
I hope you have found these tips useful whether you now find yourself working or studying from home.