Working from home can sound like an easy option but for the many thousands of people now in lockdown because of the Coronavirus, there can be challenges, especially if this is something you have never done before. Here are some seasoned pro top tips to help you and keep your productivity on track.
What are the 10 top tips?
1. Make a separate office space if possible. If you are lucky enough to have a spare room, designating this as your office will help you focus on work, rather than be tempted to multi task and do household chores at the same time. In addition it will tell you, and the other members of your household that you are now at work and are not to be disturbed.
2. Make sure your laptop is at the correct height. It’s fine looking at your laptop for your own leisure on the sofa or in bed but not when you are trying to work. For long term periods of use, your feet should be flat on the floor and your screen level with your eyes so you don’t have to stoop. The keyboard should be straight in front of you when typing. A laptop stand is the best option and you can order these online. Failing that, try supporting your laptop on books or another support so that it is at the optimum comfortable height. Doing this will avoid strain and potential back problems.
3. If you can stick to office hours, it will help you manage your home / work balance but of course if you do have small children this is not always possible, especially if the childcare is your sole responsibility. You may find that working in the evenings, early mornings or when the children are occupied or sleeping is the best time to catch up on work. With children you need to be flexible and all employers will understand this. Suggest that contact is done by email rather than taking phone calls and video calls.
4. If your work does require you to video conference think about this before it happens. You want a neutral space behind you, rather than personal clutter such as washing drying on the radiators. If you have children, try to ensure they don’t burst in on you mid conference. Letting your boss or your coworkers into your home is not something most of us welcome after all.
5. Stay off social media. Don’t instantly respond to texts or get distracted by lengthy phone calls by people who are bored and in isolation. All these distractions take up valuable time so save it until work is over or you will never get anything done!
6. Get organised. Plan in advance and make a to do list and set time limits and goals. Update this every day so that you can focus on what you need to do. Crossing each completed task off the list is very satisfying and will keep you focused and on track.
7. Some home workers suggest that you dress as if you were going to work so that you get into the zone. It sounds good but is it really necessarily? Just make sure that you are presentable and dressed in a way that you would not be embarrassed about if somebody made a video call or if your boss actually knocked at the door.
8. It is important to take short breaks. Although working from home can create distractions, if you ignore home life at the expense of your work, you will not be able to cope with either of it long term. So factor in some downtime and some breaks throughout the day so that you can enjoy the benefits of working from home without feeling guilty about it.
9. Keep your morning routine, don’t get out of bed 10 minutes before you start work, you wouldn’t do this if you were going into the office. Make sure you give yourself enough time to wake up, get up and be ready on time for your shift.
10. Don’t check emails outside of work hours. It may be tempting now you can access your emails at home to check them on a night, make sure you don’t get into this routine and keep your work-life balance to prevent work related stress.