Working From Home Tips: Your Essential Guide
Many of us (including the author of this post) have found ourselves adjusting to the new reality of working from home. Of course there are positives – more sleep, less travel time and working in whatever clothes (if any) you like – but you may quickly realise that your own home is not very conducive to productivity. It’s more important now than ever to try and maintain business-as-usual, but that can be hard if you haven’t carefully considered your ‘home office’ setup and working behaviours. Here are 8 tips to ensure you can work from home as effectively as possible.
- Keep the same routine. Don’t start rolling out of bed and onto your laptop before the sleep’s cleared from your eyes. Try and replicate your normal pre-work routine as much as possible. Whatever it is – showering, having breakfast, a caffeine hit, sanitising your hands – do it as normal so you’re actually in ‘work-mode’ when you start.
- Choose the right space. This is crucial. While we don’t all have spare rooms ready to instantly convert into home offices, try and find somewhere you can set up the bare essentials (your furniture, computer and other equipment) which you can leave at the end of the day like you leave your office. This helps with staying in ‘work-mode’ because you know that area is your dedicated workspace – not a bed or a couch or a kitchen bench.
- Get quality furniture. You’re in the right place to address this one! To work effectively at home, you need a minimum of a desk (preferably height-adjustable) and a quality ergonomic office chair. Depending on your space and the requirements of your job, it might be useful to invest in some storage such as mobile pedestal drawers. We’ve handpicked some of our best products for a home office and put together some furniture packages at discounted prices to make it as easy as possible for you!
- Keep open communication. Make sure you and your team are communicating regularly like you would in the office. If you don’t want to clog each other’s email inboxes, try making a dedicated group chat on social media or a messaging service such as Skype or Slack to ensure you don’t start working independently when you should be collaborating. This also stops you from feeling isolated or cut off from the team.
- Minimise distractions. Easier said than done, of course, but when working from home it’s extra important to remove sources of distraction. Stay of social media, turn off the TV and other devices, keep the dog outside – do everything you can to try and replicate the focus you have at the office. That being said, some generic ‘white noise’ through headphones or the TV in another room can be beneficial – as long as you know what works for you.
- Stay moving. One of the big positives of working from home is the increased opportunity to stay active throughout the work day. Step outside for some fresh air and a quick walk around the block, use your lunch break for a run on the treadmill, do some office yoga, or even just a few laps of the house with no one there to question your sanity. The benefits of keeping moving while working are enormous for productivity and wellbeing.
- Use chores to your advantage. This sounds counter-productive, but household chores can actually be great way to break up the day! Taking a couple of minutes to wash up your dishes from lunch or sweep the floor has the same benefits as stepping away from your desk to refocus your mind, while also reducing stress levels because you have less to do after work hours!
- Don’t overwork yourself. Diligent employees often work more ‘frantically’ at home to try and show their colleagues and bosses they aren’t taking advantage of the situation. It’s important to remember that in the majority of cases bosses trust their workers to continue to get the job done away from the office, so don’t stress yourself out and end up making mistakes or having to take time off. Just stay focused, in the zone, and as productive as possible.
- Leave work at ‘work’. If you don’t usually work after hours, don’t start doing so just because you can. This is why it’s important to choose a space out of the way so you aren’t constantly walking past your computer being tempted to check emails or get a head start on tomorrow. Make sure you keep a healthy work/home life balance – even if ‘work’ and ‘home’ are now at the same physical location.
- Stay healthy. No longer having to pack a rushed lunch provides a great opportunity for more nutritious meals throughout the day. Try and eat as healthily as possible, while also using the extra time before or after work for exercise. Don’t fall into the trap of going to bed later because you can sleep in a bit more – really use the situation as an excuse for a health kick. And please wash your hands.
Want to know what you can claim while working from home? Read our 5 Home Office Deductions You Should Know About.