New to working from home? Here are 7 tips to get you started.

  

 

Which are you? Someone who finds the thought of working from home exciting and productive or does it fill you with dread?

For many of us, it’s the norm, we have home based offices and we conduct our business from home.

For some of us working from home every once in a while, is a luxury that our respective companies afford us.

And for others of us it’s something we have never done until now, when because of the Corona virus, we are being forced to stay at home and self-isolate.

Homeworking can prove challenging especially if you’re new to it, easily distracted or struggle to stay focussed and productive without someone looking over your shoulder.

It also has it bonuses, you can do the school run, make a coffee when you want to and of course you can stay in your pyjamas all day.

Who knows if working from home may become the new normal for many of us when this crisis is over but in the meantime, here are 7 tips to help you make the adjustment to homeworking a bit smoother, stay productive and find your own normal.

 

  1. Start your day at your normal time

When you travel to work each day, your morning commute can help you wake up, get your mind focussed and allow you to feel ready to work. At home, it’s easy to press snooze on the alarm and stay in bed especially if there is no school run or meeting to get up for.

Keeping to your normal morning routine and getting started at your normal time (or earlier) can be the key to making real progress throughout the day. Pressing snooze, prolonging breakfast and procrastinating about starting work will simply wear away your motivation and you will end up getting very little done

 

  1. Choose a dedicated work space and pretend that you are going into the office.

Getting yourself into a work mindset can really aid productivity and help you to stay focussed. This might include getting dressed in your work clothes and treating a set area of your home as if it was an office.

Identify where you will be most productive. The kitchen, the dining room a spare bedroom?

Do you have adequate workspace and equipment? A table and supportive chair? Day light or sufficient lighting? Wifi? Etc

Is it somewhere you can go to each day and see it as your office or place of work?

 

  1. Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you.

Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you are fair game to interruptions from the others that may be home with you.

Make it clear to others what is an acceptable interruption and what isn’t. For example, you could put a notice on the door stating the times you are happy to be disturbed and when you aren’t. (Do not disturb / Meeting in progress etc) You could maybe wear headphones. Headphones on = do not disturb. Headphones off = ok to interrupt.

Identify any ways you can set boundaries and minimise the distractions caused by others who are not used to having you around and be firm with them. The habits you allow early on will be the ones that are harder to break further down the line.

 

  1. Structure your day like you would in the office.

Plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time and know how long you are going to allocate to it.

Work when you’re at your most productive and do the hardest work here.

Schedule calls and diary virtual meetings

Communicate with your colleagues or team members – what are your expectations for them? Do you need an end of day check in or review? Agree how and when you will communicate with each other.

Take clear breaks ensuring you get up and walk around or go out for a walk at lunch time. It’s very easy to eat at your desk or not stand up and stretch.

Taking a break outside is not only good for our mental health it stimulates creativity. So, if you are stuck, maybe take a break and walk the dog or take a run outside.

Think about preparing lunch or sandwiches the night before so you are not using cooking a meal as an excuse to not work

Remember to keep yourself hydrated

 

  1. Know what distracts you and utilise them to your benefit

Draw up a list of all the distractions that will get in the way of a productive day. Things you would normally be doing if you were at home. Like watching TV, playing video games, reading, catching up with friends, trawling social media, doing the laundry, cleaning the car, walking the dog etc. You know your guilty pleasures.

Split them into categories and build them into the structure of your day, part of your overall planning, allocating them set times and time spans using them to give you structure and reward.

For example, if you know you are prone to procrastinating over a certain task you might commit to completing it within the cycle of a laundry wash.

Or promise yourself a 45-minute walk with the dog in the fresh air once its completed.

Know which ones can be rewards once your work day is over like the TV. You could easily end up watching it or paying attention to it if it’s on and there’s something exciting on it. Tasks will take much longer than normal ending up affecting your motivation

Make it harder for yourself to mess around on social media. Switch off notifications or turn your phone off at set times or place it face down rather than face up.

 

  1. Pick a definitive finishing time each day.

Assuming you will have a better work life balance because you are working from home is a dangerous assumption to make.

It’s really easy to get into the habit of continuing way past normal office hours when you work from home. It’s easy to lose track of time and to keep going especially if you are in a relaxed environment where no one else is packing up to go at the end of the day.

So, make sure you have a set time to log off the laptop, pack up or whatever you need to do to finish for the day. Maybe set an alarm to signal the end of the day.

And if you are working at your dining room table make sure there is no evidence of work that will tempt you to return to it later or is likely to get damaged by the kids, a meal or the dog!

 

  1. Interact with other humans.

We may be at home but we don’t have to be alone. Use the phone, Skype, Zoom or similar technology to stay connected and talk.

Use the phone rather than email. Think about what support you might need and from whom and when you might most need it.

Schedule calls with colleagues, your team, your boss to catch up about work and also think about having someone you can call on when you just need to chat or some emotional support.

As much as you might complain about your work colleagues when you see them every day, human contact is the thing you will miss most when the novelty of the first few days of working from home wears off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New to working from home?

Here are 7 tips to get you started

 

Which are you? Someone who finds the thought of working from home exciting and productive or does it fill you with dread?

For many of us, it’s the norm, we have home based offices and we conduct our business from home.

For some of us working from home every once in a while, is a luxury that our respective companies afford us.

And for others of us it’s something we have never done until now, when because of the Corona virus, we are being forced to stay at home and self-isolate.

 

Homeworking can prove challenging especially if you’re new to it, easily distracted or struggle to stay focussed and productive without someone looking over your shoulder.

 

It also has it bonuses, you can do the school run, make a coffee when you want to and of course you can stay in your pyjamas all day.

 

Who knows if working from home may become the new normal for many of us when this crisis is over but in the meantime, here are 7 tips to help you make the adjustment to homeworking a bit smoother, stay productive and find your own normal.

 

  1. Start your day at your normal time

When you travel to work each day, your morning commute can help you wake up, get your mind focussed and allow you to feel ready to work. At home, it’s easy to press snooze on the alarm and stay in bed especially if there is no school run or meeting to get up for.

Keeping to your normal morning routine and getting started at your normal time (or earlier) can be the key to making real progress throughout the day. Pressing snooze, prolonging breakfast and procrastinating about starting work will simply wear away your motivation and you will end up getting very little done

 

  1. Choose a dedicated work space and pretend that you are going into the office.

Getting yourself into a work mindset can really aid productivity and help you to stay focussed. This might include getting dressed in your work clothes and treating a set area of your home as if it was an office.

Identify where you will be most productive. The kitchen, the dining room a spare bedroom?

Do you have adequate workspace and equipment? A table and supportive chair? Day light or sufficient lighting? Wifi? Etc

Is it somewhere you can go to each day and see it as your office or place of work?

 

  1. Communicate expectations with anyone who will be home with you.

Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you are fair game to interruptions from the others that may be home with you.

Make it clear to others what is an acceptable interruption and what isn’t. For example, you could put a notice on the door stating the times you are happy to be disturbed and when you aren’t. (Do not disturb / Meeting in progress etc) You could maybe wear headphones. Headphones on = do not disturb. Headphones off = ok to interrupt.

Identify any ways you can set boundaries and minimise the distractions caused by others who are not used to having you around and be firm with them. The habits you allow early on will be the ones that are harder to break further down the line.

 

  1. Structure your day like you would in the office.

Plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time and know how long you are going to allocate to it.

Work when you’re at your most productive and do the hardest work here.

Schedule calls and diary virtual meetings

Communicate with your colleagues or team members – what are your expectations for them? Do you need an end of day check in or review? Agree how and when you will communicate with each other.

Take clear breaks ensuring you get up and walk around or go out for a walk at lunch time. It’s very easy to eat at your desk or not stand up and stretch.

Taking a break outside is not only good for our mental health it stimulates creativity. So, if you are stuck, maybe take a break and walk the dog or take a run outside.

Think about preparing lunch or sandwiches the night before so you are not using cooking a meal as an excuse to not work

Remember to keep yourself hydrated

 

  1. Know what distracts you and utilise them to your benefit

Draw up a list of all the distractions that will get in the way of a productive day. Things you would normally be doing if you were at home. Like watching TV, playing video games, reading, catching up with friends, trawling social media, doing the laundry, cleaning the car, walking the dog etc. You know your guilty pleasures.

Split them into categories and build them into the structure of your day, part of your overall planning, allocating them set times and time spans using them to give you structure and reward.

For example, if you know you are prone to procrastinating over a certain task you might commit to completing it within the cycle of a laundry wash.

Or promise yourself a 45-minute walk with the dog in the fresh air once its completed.

Know which ones can be rewards once your work day is over like the TV. You could easily end up watching it or paying attention to it if it’s on and there’s something exciting on it. Tasks will take much longer than normal ending up affecting your motivation

Make it harder for yourself to mess around on social media. Switch off notifications or turn your phone off at set times or place it face down rather than face up.

 

  1. Pick a definitive finishing time each day.

Assuming you will have a better work life balance because you are working from home is a dangerous assumption to make.

It’s really easy to get into the habit of continuing way past normal office hours when you work from home. It’s easy to lose track of time and to keep going especially if you are in a relaxed environment where no one else is packing up to go at the end of the day.

So, make sure you have a set time to log off the laptop, pack up or whatever you need to do to finish for the day. Maybe set an alarm to signal the end of the day.

And if you are working at your dining room table make sure there is no evidence of work that will tempt you to return to it later or is likely to get damaged by the kids, a meal or the dog!

 

  1. Interact with other humans.

We may be at home but we don’t have to be alone. Use the phone, Skype, Zoom or similar technology to stay connected and talk.

Use the phone rather than email. Think about what support you might need and from whom and when you might most need it.

Schedule calls with colleagues, your team, your boss to catch up about work and also think about having someone you can call on when you just need to chat or some emotional support.

As much as you might complain about your work colleagues when you see them every day, human contact is the thing you will miss most when the novelty of the first few days of working from home wears off.

 

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