The trend of working from home has steadily been increasing. Technology means workplaces and job roles have become far more flexible, with thousands of employees working from home either occasionally or full-time. The current coronavirus pandemic means even more of us are working from home, some for the first time, as the government advises we stay indoors as much as possible.
There are plenty of benefits of working from home, from getting rid of the commute to doing away with office attire. But there are challenges too. It can be difficult to get into the right frame of mind when your home and workspace are the same and you may find that productivity decreases at times.
1. Set a schedule
Depending on your workplace, your working from home schedule may be flexible. If you’re able to start and finish when you like, it’s an excellent way of making work fit into your life, such as working around picking up children or grandchildren. However, make sure you set a schedule for yourself and stick to it. It can be all too easy to become distracted when you’re working from home and work tasks can be put off until they stack up.
2. Stick with a morning routine
Waking up five minutes before you need to start and sitting in pyjamas all day can seem like a dream. But if you’re struggling to get into the right frame of mind when you’re working, sticking with a morning routine can help. You may not need to dress as formally, but getting ready and still enjoying a cup of coffee with breakfast can give you some time to work up and get prepared to tackle the day ahead.
3. Create a dedicated workspace
Having an area to work can help you create a distinction between work and home life, even though they’re occupying the same space. Ideally, a home office should be used to work from home, but a space at the kitchen table or a desk in the lounge can work just as well if your home doesn’t have space. Have everything you need to get regular tasks done to hand to avoid distractions.
4. Find out how you work best
Some people work best when they have music blaring, others prefer the quiet. Try different things when you first work from home to create an environment that lets you focus and get tasks done. Keep in mind there isn’t always one answer. You may find that sitting at a desk with the news in the background is best for one aspect of your job but doesn’t suit others.
5. Don’t forget to take breaks
You may find at home you have fewer distractions than you did in the office, particularly if you work in an open-plan space usually. If you usually catch up with colleagues on your tea break or take a stroll through town at a set time, it can be easy to miss these breaks when you’re at home. But they’re important for clearing your head and maintaining focus. Make sure you schedule regular breaks into your day where you can step away from your workspace, even if it’s just for five minutes.
6. Keep in touch with your team
Communications is an important part of working effectively in any team, and when you’re not in the same office, it’s even more vital. Keeping in touch can help projects run smoothly and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Whether you use video conferencing to hold meetings or an instant messenger throughout the day, find a tool that works well for your team and goals. Don’t just catch up on work-related topics either, sometimes general conversation is just what you need to look at a challenge from a different angle and allows you to think about something else.
7. Make time to leave home
If you’re not travelling to work, you can find you don’t need to leave the house for several days. But staying indoors can start driving us all stir crazy. Plan your days so you get to spend time outdoors and get some fresh air. It can be as simple as going for a walk around the block to clear your head during your lunch break.
8. Remember to switch off
Setting a schedule isn’t just important for ensuring you remain productive when working but it can help create a clear work-life divide. If your laptop is just meters away, it’s easy to check emails and other tasks hours after you’ve signed off. Tuning out work when the working day is over is important for your mental health and wellbeing. It’s a step that can help you avoid burnout and ensure productivity remains high if you’re working from home for an extended period of time.