Given the current circumstances, as a society we’re incredibly lucky that we can work from home. But with household distractions, isolation and not always having everything to hand, working from home can be tough.
The right focus, routine and tech make working from home easier. Just spending an hour or so now to get these things right will set you up nicely for weeks ahead:
Ensure you have a dedicated workspace
Whether it’s a desk in the corner or a home office, being able to leave your workspace at day’s end will do wonders for your mental health. Make sure you have some natural light to combat that post-lunch lull. If you don’t have natural light, ensure good lighting to avoid eye strain.
Set your working hours
Take advantage of that commute time! Spend it on your to do list, do some exercise, read the news with coffee, generally feel like you’re winning at life. Then, try to start and finish work at the same time you usually would. This is essential to being able to focus afresh on your work. Burning the candle at both ends, whilst tempting, is not sustainable. Also watch out for the Friday night bottle of wine morphing to daily....that’s the best way to suppress your immune system.
Dress for the job
Get up at a sensible time and get dressed. PJs may be ‘comfortable’, but they’re not good for your mental health, your professionalism or your demeanour.
Schedule Break Times
Walk away from the computer screen and phone. If you can, try and plan some kind of exercise or activity. There’s nothing like sitting in a chair all day to ensure a visit to the osteopath. So, get up and move around. Think about how much more you’d walk to meetings, to lunch, even to other desks if you were in the office. Unless you have a pretty big house, or a pretty small office, you’re likely to be down on your daily step count.
Social media and global current affairs can increase the temptation to let your attention drift, so use an app like Offtime, Moment or Flipd to stop the habitual scrolling which will sap your productivity.
If you’re at home with children or other adults and don’t want interruptions, put a note on your door, or for younger children use a picture or ribbon so they know not to enter to avoid any home working faux pas like this one…
Working remotely requires excellent communication. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often.
Get organised and plan ahead
Keep a schedule for the day and stick to it. Block out time in your diary for key tasks, priority projects emails and even your lunch break, you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you will be.
Make use of collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or Slack to communicate with your teams. Allow yourself that office banter.
Create digital workflows that everyone can see
If you work closely with a team of people, apps like Monday or Trello ensure everyone knows what they are working on and where any given task is in the process. These tools take a few minutes to set up initially but save a lot of time in the long-run.
Use video calls
Video calls are really good at combatting isolation. Use Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype to hold video calls. Just, before you switch on your camera, make sure that yesterday’s dirty clothes aren’t draped over the chair behind you!
Don’t let large file sizes get the better of you
If you’re finding it hard to send large files over email, don’t despair. Saving a file to a cloud-based storage provider such as OneDrive, DropBox, or many companies have their own cloud-based file storage platforms, you should be able to access a ‘Share’ button. Choose ‘share’ and share with a link, copy the link and paste it into your email. Not only is this more secure, as the document stays on your server until it’s called on by the recipient, and then sent securely, but it also means you won’t have issues with file size. If you don’t have a cloud-based file sharing facility, you can always use WeTransfer for sending those large documents.
PLEASE LET US KNOW If you have any personal hints or tips on working from home - we’ll share them widely!
As a business you may be implementing a work from home plan for your employees... here are a few tips to help.