With the Covid pandemic forcing people to work from home, many for the first time, we’ve put together a guide to help you make the most of your working hours.
Working from home or remotely can be one of the most liberating and productive experiences and, done well, can actually enhance your work life. No need to squeeze onto an overcrowded train, an extra hour in bed and nobody clock watching your daily routine. What’s not to like? However, working remotely, or from home, can present other challenges.
Structure your working day
There will always be the temptation to relax standards whilst working remotely. To be the most productive, work needs to feel a bit like…work. Structure and routine can really help to ensure your day is used efficiently.
Your work space
Your environment will have an impact on your ability to work properly, creating a work space separate to the rest of the house such as a converted shed or simply closing the door on a spare room if available. If none of these are available, in a bedroom, or lounge space, a desk set up for work will help to get you into the working mindset.
From a physical perspective, you are likely to be sitting down for a number of hours and as tempting as it is to slouch on the sofa, having a proper chair and desk with a larger screen at an appropriate height will help to maintain your physical health. Many companies will be keen to ensure their employees home work space is ergonomically suited to work use, so there may be help with the purchase of chairs and desks available.
Work/Home life separation.
One of the real benefits of working away from the home in a dedicated office is that, largely speaking, when you leave the office the work day is over. With ‘always on’ technology there is a danger of the lines between work and home becoming blurred, but, for your mental health and wellbeing, having separation between the two environments is important. Whilst working from home getting dressed for work, and being presentable for team and customer video calls, and then debunking to lounge wear at the end of the day can provide real separation which helps to distinguish between work and down time.
Take a break
Working at home full time can start to feel a little dull; fitting exercise and daylight into your day will definitely help your mind and body, similarly making time for yourself and being strict about taking breaks will enable you to cope with remote working long term.
Not strictly limited to remote working but setting goals and organising priority tasks will really help to give a sense of having achieved something purposeful with your day. Working from home or remotely can be a lonely place and making small wins can help to maintain high spirits.
Stay in touch with your colleagues regularly
One of the biggest losses that can come from working remotely is the feeling of togetherness and social interaction with your colleagues. Fortunately with the incredible collaboration software tools available to aid working together, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack, it is easily possible to stay in touch face to face. It can feel alien to set an online video conference call where a phone call will do but seeing your beautiful colleague’s face can really lift your day. These tools are now going way beyond just video conferencing with plugged in collaboration functionality that enable you to share projects and tasks. Regular face to face contact can really negate any sense of isolation.
Living with others
If you aren’t used to working from home and this is new to you, learning to work under the same roof with others that you cohabit can present a challenge. You may be invading someone else’s normal domain and being sympathetic to that can stop unnecessary flair ups. Open communication about how you’d all like things to run could save you from unexpected tension.
Make it fun
Working from home with limited contact can get depressing. Some businesses are pretty creative around video conference social interaction, with 10am tea chats over Teams, Friday afternoon happy hour drinks and company quizzes all being used to stave off any boredom and giving teams a bit of social interaction.
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