As another lockdown comes into force across England, many more employees will switch to working from home as their offices temporarily close. Whether this is your fist time working from home, or you’re a WFH veteran, we wanted to share some top tips to make the process a little less daunting.
Whilst there are multiple benefits to working from home it can come with some challenges if you’re used to being in the office.
Now we’re not saying you need to be the next Tim Cook and wake up at 04:15am every morning to answer your emails. But, as appealing as it seems to sit in your pyjamas all day, waking up at the same time every day, having breakfast, showering and getting dressed helps you psychologically prepare yourself for a day of work! Incorporating some exercise into your morning routine (or later in the day if you prefer) is also really beneficial to both your physical and mental health. Whether that’s a jog, cycle ride, yoga session or a dog walk, regular exercise leads to enhanced creativity, quicker learning and improved concentration to name a few.
When you’re working by yourself at home it can be easy to get carried away and work from 9 till 5 without stopping. Taking regular breaks is vital to keep you both mentally and physically alert, particularly if you’re sitting in front of a computer all day! Maybe you take a small 5 minute break on the hour to walk around your garden, or perhaps schedule a longer coffee break to close your computer and read a book, whatever it is making time for yourself will have positive knock-on effects for your work. Taking a long lunch break to give yourself time to prepare a proper lunch will help you recharge and come back in the afternoon with more concentration.
This is without doubt our teams’ No.1 tip! As appealing as it sounds to sit on the sofa with your computer on your lap, it’s certainly not beneficial for work. Instead, it begins to blur the lines between work and leisure, a key danger when working from home. This issue can be exacerbated if you’re working with others in the house who might distract you. Dedicating a specific place in your home to work will help you avoid distractions during the working day, but also let you ‘switch off’ when you finish. It is also important to let others around you at home know when and where you’ll be working so they understand what you can and cannot do during the working day.
Some days it might feel that you don’t get much done, and, whilst this is totally natural it can be particularly demoralising when you’re working from home. Setting yourself some goals will not only help overcome this feeling, but will also help structure your working days. Splitting your list into short and long-term goals will mean that you will have regular smaller goals to tick off and keep you motivated, whilst at the same time giving you bigger targets to strive for. This could be a written list in your notebook, or an online system (our team uses Infinity to stay on track).
One of the worst habits our team found when starting to work from home more often was not physically ‘switching off’ at the end of the day. Just like a good morning routine helps you prepare for the working day ahead, it is equally (if not more) important to properly shut up your working from home setup at the end of the day. This means shutting down your computer (not just putting them to sleep…) and turning off your work phone (or at least putting it on to Do Not Disturb if you share a personal and work phone). Taking time to ‘switch off’ from work not only means you don’t get tempted to go and answer one last email (we all have, it’s okay…), it also helps you mentally decompress in the evening and make time for yourself once work has finished.