For most people, working from home is their new and daunting reality as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been forced to quickly adjust to this new work style and many of us are struggling to find ways to efficiently work from homes. The recent government advice has confirmed a lot of people’s fears; working from home is here to stay.
Working from home affords you flexibility to and lets you avoid nasty commutes, however it can sometimes be very difficult and overwhelming, as you not only have to deal with work related responsibilities but also with the stress of everyday life. We understand this drastic change may be challenging, and in this article, we offer some tips and recommendations on how to best work from home without affecting your productivity and personal life.
The fact that you are at home, and your boss is not constantly checking on you, doesn’t mean you should work from bed in your PJ’s, try to keep it professional by showering and dressing up. Create an “office like” space at home, where you have all the equipment that you may need to work effectively, for instance, make sure you have the essentials such as a mouse, keyboard and computer, also try to work from a desk with a good chair so it is comfortable and you don’t end up with back pain.
You can personalize your workspace (e.g. add a plant, photos or a candle) if this makes you feel better and more motivated. It’s also important you keep this spot tidy and if possible, make sure this is not the same place where you live your ‘personal life’, this will help keep your work and personal life separate and stops working from home becoming too intense or claustrophobic.
Ensure the spot you have chosen to work, doesn’t have many distractions around and isn’t a place that is noisy or frequently visited. Pick a place with good lighting and fresh air so it is easier to focus. If you live with family or friends let them know that this is your working space and encourage them to avoid disturbing you as much as possible during working hours.
Keep a good work-life balance
Keeping a healthy routine when working from home can seem almost impossible, but it is fundamental for your wellbeing. When working from home it’s easy to fall into starting earlier and finishing later as there is not commute in between and you are at home anyway! But don’t make this an everyday thing as it can be difficult to manage your working hours and to give your body and brain the rest it needs.
It can be very difficult to switch off after work, as there’s seemingly no separation between work and home. In order to switch off, we recommend going for a walk, doing some yoga or meditation or an activity you enjoy doing that can offer you a true break from work.
The fact you are at home all day doesn’t mean you should work 24/7 or that you should be available after working hours. This isn’t beneficial for your wellbeing and can affect your productivity and motivation. Even though you’re away from the structure of the office we recommend you still try to take a lunch break, and/or coffee break, and try to take a quick 5 minutes break a few times throughout the day, this will keep your focus and improve your productivity.
One of the disadvantages of working from home is not been able to enjoy the social and collaborative environment an office gives you. This is why it’s important to set expectations and goals with your boss and your team. A good idea is to use an online tool where you can communicate with your colleagues to promote collaboration and teamwork.
Working from home can feel isolating and unstructured, and loneliness can be a challenge, so it is important to have team meetings and regular check ins with your colleagues. Alternatively, you can also suggest videocall (not work related) with your team to simulate afterwork drinks/activities and help maintain strong relationships with your colleagues.
Stay focus at home
It can be very easy to get distracted while working from home, either doing household tasks, going for snacks, cooking or chatting. To avoid this, we recommend using methods to minimize distraction.
The first thing would be to ask your family or the people you live with, to help you with silence and minimize disturbance during working hours. Control your social media use, this can be a big distraction as once you start scrolling down the feed, there is no coming back! Turn off your notifications during working hours, if you find difficult to not check your phone leaving it in another room while working may help.
A “to do list” is another method that can help you with staying focused and being productive. Make a list of the tasks or priorities for the day, set a time frame for each and once you complete them tick each one. This way you can do your work in an organized way and you can visualize your progress. This is also a very good method to help manage your workload and evidence it to your manager(s), try to focus on your top priorities, focus on the most important work for the day and don’t waste time on less important tasks.
If you need help or advice on how to best be productive and thrive in these challenging times, contact us now. We have an exciting range of services designed to help you and your team!