Recently, a lot more people are working from home. It certainly suits some as they embrace their new surroundings. For others it’s a very daunting task. They don’t know what to do or where to start.
They’re used to their home being the place they chill out in. It’s where they hang out with family and friends, so it can be hard to get motivated to work from home.
As someone who works in a home office, I asked myself what advice can I give others? Here are 7 points to consider:
- Find the right place to work from - Situations differ for everyone. Some people have the luxury of a dedicated space or room. Whilst others find themselves working at the kitchen table. It’s worth checking if you can find a spot where you can set up a work space (ie corner in a room). It’s good to be a little removed from the main areas, so you don’t have to clear it daily. You want to be to switch off in the evenings or weekends when you are in a different space. Make sure you have enough light and remember to keep your workspace neat and tidy.
- Getting started each day – In my opinion, this is the one of the toughest parts of working from home. Some people may think “great, I’ll have a lie-in” as they are not commuting. My advice is to get up as normal, have a shower and breakfast. Then go to your desk as you normally would. Many people have rituals. For example, a lady once told me she used to walk out her back door and come in the front door to go to her office. Work your normal working hours. However, if you are a morning person, start and finish early if that works for you. The key is to stick to a routine.
- Avoiding distractions – it’s easy to allow ourselves become distracted. It might be the laundry, TV, a pet or another person. Try and set yourself up so you are away from everything else. Set a time when you will start your day and stick to it. When you need to consider other people, try and work out a schedule so they know when you are free and when to leave you along. Stay off social media and switch off notifications if it helps.
- Dress as if you are going to work – Whilst you may not have to dress as formally as normal, make sure to get dressed each day. Psychologically, what we wear can affect us – in terms of motivation, confidence and our mood. Put on shoes and avoid wearing pyjamas or tracksuits, especially if you need to talk to customers or colleagues via video conferencing during the day.
- Your focus and concentration – Plan your day the evening before. Write lists and schedule times when you will get things done. Allow for “unscheduled time” too, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Do one thing at a time and manage your tasks in chunks of time. Lots of people talk about the “Pomodoro Technique”. Its where you set a time to do a task (40-45 minutes), then break for 5 minutes. Keep repeating this throughout the day. Some people use music to help them concentrate – go with whatever works for you.
- Take breaks and get fresh air – taking breaks is important for productivity, concentration and our mental health. When you take a break, get up from the chair and walk around. Go outside or open the window to get fresh air. You’ll be surprised how reinvigorated you’ll feel. Take your lunch time as normal and avoid screen breaks as they don’t count.
- Stay connected – working from home can be lonely, especially if you live on your own, are used to an office, work as part of a team or you just enjoy the social interaction. Having both formal “work” and informal “catch-ups” online are great for motivating us and keeping us connected with others. Use your technology to engage with customers and colleagues – make sure to turn the camera on.