Suddenly working from home? Five great tips.
Whether you are hastily setting up a shop at your kitchen table, or have been operating from a home office for a while, there a few things you can do to make sure that you’re remote working in a healthy way.
When “work” is just on the other side of your living room, or waiting for you on your laptop beside the bed when you wake up in the morning, it can be hard to set clear boundaries between your work life and your home life.
But when you are an at-home worker it’s even more important that you maintain some delineation so that work doesn’t slowly take over your existence. Try to set a start time and a finish time, and then only check in on your emails and work tasks beyond that to the extent that you would if you weren’t working at home.
When you get up in the morning, follow a routine in the same way you would if you were heading out to work. Exercise, have a shower, get dressed in your office clothes, have a coffee…..whatever you’d normally do. Only once you’ve done that, log in and put your hand up for work.
Working from home doesn’t have to mean being isolated from the world. Studies have shown that people working from home tend to be more productive because they don’t have the interruptions that naturally occur in an office. No one stops for a chat on their way past your desk or asks what you’ve been up to in the weekend when you are heating up your lunch.
But, for many people, those interruptions represent a significant part of their social lives. If you are working from home and missing the social contact, schedule time to catch up with your co-workers and friends. Sometimes something as simple as sharing photos of your workspace can make colleagues feel less isolated – or schedule a Zoom of Google Hangout appointment for a coffee date in the afternoons a couple of times a week. This type of thing is good for building relationships and also for reminding you to take a break every now and then.
Don’t skimp on comfort
Sometimes the same people who make sure they have an ergonomically designed chair and well adjusted workstation in their office end up slumped on the bed with a laptop for hours when they’re working from home. If you are doing more than answering a few emails, make sure that you have a good office set-up. This will usually mean at least a separate monitor and keyboard and decent chair. Laptops aren’t great as an all-in-one work device for prolonged periods.
Make the most of technology
You might have only just started working from home recently, but technology has been making it possible for a long time. Jump on what’s available and maximise it. Turn your camera on for Zoom meetings with clients and contacts (a good reason to remember to get properly dressed each day), use cloud based record-keeping services and workplace social networking. There are a lot of options available – and there’s ample expert advice available on what might be a good fit.
Its tempting to pretend that you are still in an office, as you assume everyone else must be. But if you embrace and acknowledge the slightly disorganised bookshelves behind you in your video calls and the odd intrusion from your kids and other family members, you may be surprised at how many other people own up to being in just the same position.
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