Top 10 Tips for Working From Home
When the pandemic began in March 2020, more people started working from home. Many teams moved to remote work with little to no notice, and there was not much preparation time.
While most teams have now gotten used to working from home, many choose remote jobs over those requiring you to be in the office. If you are new to working from home, you will find that you need to change your habits and routines to succeed. However, everyone is different, and you will have to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between your work and personal life.
Many habits can improve your working-from-home experience. Here are ten tips for working from home more effectively.
Related: 5 ways to boost productivity at work
1. Create an effective workspace
While it may be tempting to work from your bed or sofa, if you can choose a dedicated workspace, it will increase your productivity. If possible, choose another room with good lighting that can become your dedicated office. Using a separate space helps to create a physical distinction between working and relaxing, which helps to establish a boundary between home and work life. Opt for an area with little noise and distractions if you can’t have a separate room.
Try to make your workspace as comfortable as possible with a supportive chair to sit on for 8 hours a day. Entering a dedicated workspace at the beginning of the day will help you turn “on” and get to work. Equally, when you leave the workspace at the end of the day, you can turn it off.
2. Limit Distractions
Working from home can be great but it also introduces many new distractions. Whatever you are usually thinking about at home is now with you. Instead of getting distracted by your phone, research explains how listening to music can boost your mood, reduce stress levels and enhance cognitive performance.
Set timers for any breaks you take, as you don’t want to get too immersed in something else. Furthermore, if you are susceptible to getting distracted every time your phone buzzes, turn your notifications off during the workday.
3. Get Dressed
This may seem like a simple tip, but it is important. While you don’t need to dress formally, the simple act of changing clothes serves as a signal to your brain that you are at work. This is just as important for other tasks, such as showering, brushing your hair, or whatever you would normally do to go to work. Taking care of your appearance can go a long way toward helping you feel like you are taking care of yourself.
In the same way that setting aside a space for work helps to establish boundaries, getting ready in the morning will help you to adopt a professional mindset while signalling that your working day is due to begin.
4. Set Boundaries With Your Household
Family and flatmates can sometimes forget that you’re working while you’re at home. Try to maintain relationships while minimising disruption by talking to your household in advance so that they know your working hours and understand the environment you need to work in.
5. Plan Your Workflow
If you want to work from home efficiently, a great way to do so is to plan your work day. Before you start working, know your daily priorities and how long it will take to get everything done.
It might be helpful to take a couple of minutes at the end of the day to write a plan for the next day. You may also find that you sleep better without the stress of planning.
When you are planning your day, consider:
- Do the highest priority tasks first
- Plan your day around when you have the most energy
- Plan breaks throughout the day
If you do so, you can stay focused and not get distracted.
6. Break Up The Day
Make sure you get up from your desk on your break, get some fresh air and grab a healthy snack. These activities will help you reset and ensure you’re ready to tackle your next tasks.
One study found that the most productive workers worked for around 50 minutes and then took a 15-20 minute break. This may be a good pattern if you’re not accustomed to taking breaks.
The Pomodoro Technique is a long-established time management method that improves focus and productivity. This method advocates breaking your day into 25-minute intervals, followed by five-minute breaks, known collectively as a Pomodoros. After completing four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes, and repeat this process throughout the day.
Giving a task your full focus for a manageable amount of time allows you to concentrate on completing it and rewarding yourself with a break afterwards, to stay refreshed.
If you work from home, you will miss out on speaking to colleagues during the working day. While it might not feel like a lot, the informal conversations as you pass one another or in the kitchen are an unquestionable part of the day. Employees can feel disengaged and isolated when these conversations stop while working from home. So, how can you tackle this? Install an instant messaging tool, like Teams, to have informal discussions. Furthermore, you can host video calls to help colleagues maintain a good working relationship with one another.
It is also important to introduce a schedule for a regular business update and 121s so that team members feel connected to the business and informed about the work they are asked to deliver.
8. Look for Training & Learning Opportunities
If you aren’t in the office, and your company isn’t fully remote, you may miss out on training and skills development courses taught in person. Unfortunately, you might miss out on an opportunity to learn something useful, so make sure you speak up and are given the same opportunities as those in the office.
In addition, you can request online or in-person courses, training and coaching if you need it. Many online learning sites teach various skills.
9. Leave Home
Make sure you are still getting out of the house and move your body to get your blood circulating. Plus, the fresh air and light will do you a lot of good. If you can, try to step outside for a short while before, during and after work.
If you’re working arrangement allows it, you could go to cafes, libraries, and co-working spaces to break up the monotony of being at home. The important part is to leave, get some air, and break up the day if you are distracted.
10. Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
Sometimes when you work from home, your attention can drift, especially with the distractions that your home can present. Instead of reprimanding yourself, ask yourself if you would do the same thing in the office. If the answer is yes, cut yourself some slack. You should make sure you balance productivity with self-care; otherwise, you will burn out.
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