For the foreseeable future, almost every one of us will be adjusting to doing our usual job from the comfort (and safety!) of our own home. This will be a big change for many, and with no colleagues to chat to, can feel pretty remote. Here are our top tips for making your working from home experience both productive and effective:
1. Establish a Routine, and Stick to It.
Just because you could roll out of bed ten minutes before the start of your workday, doesn’t mean you should. We are so used to routine in our everyday working lives that it may seem like a form of holiday to have this time at home, but that could get old, and boring, fast. It is a good idea to stick to a time to get up and ready to face the day, and establish normal working hours. This includes changing out of your pyjamas (they may be comfortable, but the novelty will wear off) and taking regular breaks, just as you would if you were headed into the office.
2. Create a Dedicated Workspace that is yours and yours only.
Creating a dedicated workstation is vital to separating your work from your home life, at a time when the boundaries are slightly blurred. Ideally, you should have plenty of space and light, with a comfortable chair and your computer or laptop set up as you would have in the office. Closing a door on this space is also an effective way to signal the end of your workday!
3. Stay Connected to your Colleagues.
It can feel isolating suddenly going from being in a busy office with loads of colleagues to sitting at your desk at home, alone. It is important both for you and for team morale to stay connected! Use instant messaging services like WhatsApp and online video conferencing applications like Zoom or Microsoft Team to stay in touch. A daily team check in in the morning can help to kick start your day like it would in the office.
4. Minimise Potential Distractions.
While the office contains distractions in the form of colleagues, phone calls or that extra coffee break, the home office has many as well, particularly at a time when schools are closed and your partner will also likely be at home. It would be a good idea to establish a system by which others in your house know when you are available to talk or be with them, e.g. if you have your headphones in, you are currently working.
5. Most Importantly: Keep a Positive Mindset.
If you don’t enjoy it, know that this period of home working is not forever! For some this will be a great opportunity to road test a form of employment they may not have considered before. As mentioned above, working from home can feel lonely. In fact, last year a study of 2,500 remote workers by Buffer, found that loneliness was the second-most reported problem for survey participants. You can keep your spirits up by listening to music, performing exercise, and continuing to connect with your colleagues, and then maybe this isolation won’t feel too long!