There has been a gradual increase in what is known as the new working from home economy with 42 per cent of the labor force now doing so. Working from home in 2020 became the new normal for so many people with the global pandemic. Working from home can be great but it can also be a struggle for many. Working from home for some people is a novelty at the start or can help with your family life if you are doing it once in a while. However, some people prefer working in an office and the structure that brings. So, whether you are working from home due to Covid-19 or if you have chosen to work from home, below are some tips on how to successfully work from home.
Having the space traveling to and from work can help you get in the frame of work mode. In the morning it can help you wake up. That isn’t the case when working from home so make the conscious effort to start working from home early. Give yourself time to wake up and get ready for the day.
Pretend You Are Going into the Office
While you may be working at home, have the mindset that you are indeed going into the office. This helps you separate your home life from your work life. This means doing all the things you would associate with going into the office such as getting up, putting on work clothes, starting at a specific time. If you do have the luxury of having several laptops, use one for home and one for work.
As well as pretending you are going into the office, set up your day as if it was in the office. That means starting work at the appropriate time but also taking coffee breaks to schedule your day. It also means setting up meetings on the likes of Zoom or Microsoft Teams for a catch up with work colleagues or friends. Structures like this help you get into work mode and keep you productive.
If you can, devote some space to work only. This dedicated workspace will allow you to have a break from work when you need it while the rest of the house will be associated with leisure time. Having a devoted workspace also allows you to separate work and home life.
Get Out and About
If you find it tough on days to work from home, change it up by going to a coffee shop or library to work for a few hours. Often people can get caught up in the same routine so get out and about. Have meetings outside, or visit another location that has Wi-Fi to allow you to break up your routine. This break in routine will help you stay productive.
Limit Social Media Interaction
Social media is very distracting and it can zap hours of your day without you even realizing it. Try to limit the time you spend on social media by allowing yourself to look at it only during your coffee breaks. You could also remove any shortcuts from your laptop if it is still distracting.
Plan your days
Taking the time to plan your day or week will stand you in good stead. This means sitting down at the beginning of a new week and scheduling your meetings, calls and ordering any items you require such as stationery, for example, do you need to buy white labels and sticky paper online, or do you need to order more pens or ink cartridges? Planning ahead for your day will ensure you don’t have any distractions during the week and you are prepared for the work you will be doing.
Make Use of Technology
If you are continually working from home it’s important to stay connected. Make use of all the technology available to stay in contact with work colleagues. This means using the likes of Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Facetime to connect with others.
Video-conferencing platforms are an excellent way to interact with others or check-in for a catch up to stay in touch.
Managing Family Expectations
Just because you are working from home, it doesn’t mean you are available to undertake home tasks such as cleaning, washing, or making lunch for everyone – unless you decide that is what you want to do to break up your day. Ensure your family members know when you are working and when you are free. This helps you to delineate your work space with your home space.
You may think it’s better to work through it continually. However, it is counter-productive to do this so take regular breaks. Get off your chair, walk around or stretch. Set yourself a timer during which you can work and then when it goes off you take your break. You can set it for specific chunks of time, this is a great way of staying productive too.
Prep the Night Before
To help with productivity, prepare your lunch the night before. This saves so much time and means you can sit down and relax with your lunch rather than thinking about what you will make or have to spend time making something that will take a long time to prepare. Preparing your lunch the night before will also help ensure you take your break at the time you have allocated yourself.
Finishing the day
Try to stick to the same finish time each day you are working from home. Ensure you set a time and finish then rather than going back to your work mode that evening. Close your laptop at the time you have set aside to finish, close the door and try to move into your home life mode. The act of ‘packing up’ your items and leaving the office will help you leave your work mode and move into your home life seamlessly. It may also help by setting an alarm to signal the end of the workday.