Working from home can be a blessing in disguise, no more waking up super early and rushing around before dashing out of the door to catch a train or getting stuck in the morning rush hour traffic jam. It is now just a short walk to your desk.
Despite these benefits it can be hard to adjust because of the informality associated with being at home, it can be easy to fall into bad habits which can make you less productive. So how can you make sure that you are productive when working from home? In this article we share some tips for Working from Home:
If you can, set up an area which is dedicated to work so you can separate home and work life. Put a desk in a spare room or convert your dining room to an office. By having this psychological and physical separation, it is easier to slip into “work” mode and work more effectively and ideally, be able to switch off from it all at the end of the day.
Keep to your Routine
If you have a set routine at work, then keep to that when working from home. If you normally get to work at 8am, make a coffee and then get straight into work, then do that at home. Don’t be tempted to have a slow start to the day. By keeping to your normal routine as much as you can, you will keep yourself in that work frame of mind.
Ensure you have a clear finish time as well. It can be very easy to do one more task and work well beyond your normal hours. You need to have clear boundaries between work and personal life so make sure you set yourself a clear finish time and stick to it where ever possible.
Communication is key. Continuous communication with managers and other co-workers is key to remaining a productive member of your team. When you are working from home, your interaction with other people will drop off compared to being in the office. It is important to maintain that personal contact with them, so you don’t feel isolated and cut-off. If you don’t have home working protocols already in place, discuss ways you can keep in constant contact with your colleagues. Perhaps suggest replacing any previously scheduled face-to-face meetings with Skype or Zoom. For quick queries or team discussions, consider using a group messaging service like WhatsApp or Messenger as an alternative to email communication. For collaborative working either within your team or indeed for the whole company, Microsoft SharePoint is a full intranet that will allow you to work and share documents. For ease and instant install the Workplace by Facebook will also provide you with a communal work area, which anyone familiar with Facebook will already know how to use. Of course, you could always just pick up the phone and call someone.
As important as work communications are, it is important to talk to those at home with you, so that they understand that you are working. It is important that they respect your work hours and your need to be productive.
Take clear breaks away from your work area. It is tempting to pop to the kitchen, get a cuppa and then sit back at your computer. Ensure you take proper breaks from your computer. Have that coffee in the living room and eat your lunch in the kitchen. Essentially use the rest of your home as your break out areas for relaxation.
Some of us might well be tempted to roll out of bed in our pyjamas and start working. As tempting as this is it might not set you in the right mindset for work. Some people will benefit from dressing more formally, that isn’t always necessary, however you dress, make sure that you actually dress, you never know when that video call might come in!
Working from home has a lot of benefits but the grey area between home life and work life can make it a little challenging. By taking some small steps to create a clear work/life boundary you will be able to enjoy the benefits of being at home whilst still being productive.