As governments and businesses look to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the option of working from home has become not just a choice but a reality for many of us.
Already a rapidly expanding choice for many businesses and employees, thanks to always advancing technology, working from home is no longer a challenge for many industries and skillsets.
However, what works best for remote workers will be different for everyone. Finding a routine that suits you is imperative.
And while the idea of no commuting and spending the vast majority of your day in comfy PJs sounds appealing, it’s super-important to make sure you’re productive.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of remote working, here are some tips that can not only help you find what allows you to stay focused but will also assist in keeping your work completely separate from your home life.
Treat your workdays at home like you would as if you were in the office. That means trying to be at your desk at the same time every day. This also applies to when you finish.
Schedule your break times like you would normally as well. If a group of you go for a morning coffee, why not have a group video chat of you all enjoying a caffeine hit in your own kitchens? It’s a great way to keep a routine and boost morale at the same time.
Speaking of video chats and similar technology, having group chats and messaging apps is also really critical. It not only keeps you in the loop of what everyone else in your work group is doing but also takes away some of the natural isolation that occurs when working from home.
It’s also really important to get out of the house on a daily basis; take a lunchtime walk with the dog (if you have one) or even just stretching your legs and walking down the driveway to the mailbox means you won’t suffer from cabin fever.
Separate your workspace
For a lot of us, a dedicated home office might not be feasible due to space restrictions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a space that allows you to work productively.
Your workspace should be an area that you have mentally allocated as purely for work purposes. In this space you’re only focusing on work-related matters. It might be a small desk in your bedroom or one end of the dining table. This way, other members of the house can easily understand that it’s a designated work area.
In addition, it’s a good idea to not work from your bed. You may find you start associating your bed with work, making sleep more difficult. This then makes separating your work from your sanctuary that much trickier.
It may take a bit of experimenting to get this right but it’s a really important aspect of working from home life.
The right tools
So we’re talking things like a standing desk or a good, ergonomic office chair.
If you can replicate your usual office environment as much as possible, then do so.
Generally speaking, your company will inform you of what you need to work from home and how to go about setting up. If you have any concerns, discuss with your manager.
Other things you will need for your home setup include good wi-fi connectivity, and, if you’re in a high-traffic area of your home, some decent noise-cancelling headphones, which will allow you to work with minimal distractions.
Dress for work
This one has a bit more flexibility to it. Yes, some of the appeal of WFH is knowing you don’t have to get dressed to the nines every day. By the same token, it’s also important to understand that a routine is important and that dressing for work can help you focus on the work at hand.
If it’s a day where you don’t have any remote meetings, or you need a break from the usual routine, by all means dress down and feel relaxed.
Again, this comes down to personal preference and you may find you’re more productive in your PJs!
Listen to your body and mind
Pacing yourself is really important. Working from home will mean there’s a lot of quiet time to get things done.
But focusing hard for extended stretches can be mentally taxing too, so it’s hugely beneficial to make sure you get some break times between the deep-dive work.
Even if it’s just a five - or ten-minute stretch where you make yourself a coffee or a tea and get away from the screen can be really crucial to your productivity.