By Drew Farquharson
The Government has recently announced that people should work from home where possible during the current Coronavirus outbreak. Working from home has become popular over the years but for many, it will be a new way of working. What if you have never worked from home, what if you don't have a home office set up? Don’t worry, we have compiled a list of 7 top tips to make sure you are working as effectively as possible from the comfort of your own home.
1. Try to replicate your morning routine
One of the most important things to do is to create the right mindset to work from home, and this should start as soon as you wake up. That’s right, you need to continue setting your morning alarm, getting showered and dressed, eating breakfast and anything else you would normally do before work. Use the time you would normally spend commuting to do something productive like walking the dogs, making breakfast or just catching up with the news.
It may seem strange putting your work clothes on just to stay in but, it will help tell your brain that it is work time and not relaxation time.
2. Create a suitable workspace
Now you’re up and ready for work it’s time to make sure your workspace is ready. Here are some dos and don'ts for creating a suitable office space whilst you work from home:
Make sure you have a clean large enough surface. - Similar to your office, you need enough space for your cups of coffee, documents, mouse and anything else you normally have on your desk.
Make sure you have a comfortable chair - the last thing you want to do is spend all day sat on an uncomfortable chair.
Try and set up a second screen if you use one in the office - this could even be your TV if you don’t have anything smaller. Simply connect your laptop to a TV (usually with an HDMI) then you will have your second screen ready to go.
Work in bed - this may seem like a great idea but it’s not, your brain has learnt to associate the bedroom with being relaxed. Trying to work whilst your brain wants to relax is never going to work well for your productivity.
Work in front of the TV - again this sounds like a great idea but realistically you are not going to be as productive whilst trying to watch your favourite series - why not stick the radio on instead?
Work on any free surface you can find – If you are not comfortable you will not be able to produce your best work and even worse it may lead to health issues.
3. Try to replicate your working routine as much as possible
In order to keep yourself in the right frame of mind, it is important to try and replicate your working routine. That includes your working hours, your tea and coffee breaks and your lunch schedule. Make sure you plan regular breaks and make sure you follow the governments advice about working safely with display screen equipment.
4. Plan your time and exactly what you want to achieve each day
One great way to keep productivity at a high is to plan your workflow. At the start of the day, you need to know what your priorities are, what you need to get done first and what you want to work on if you have extra time. Check out our blog about effectively managing your time here.
If you are part of a team it may be worth holding daily catch ups to ensure you are all on task and achieving what you need to achieve.
5. Keep work time and personal time separate
So, you have your schedule and you’re burning through tasks but it’s already the end of the day, you might be tempted to carry on working as you no longer have to commute and you’re in a good flow. Which is great, however, it is just as important to give yourself some time off when you’ve promised it. Try not to extend your workday too far over what you planned, as this might lead to burning yourself out and starting to see your home environment as a stressful place.
By doing this and keeping work time and personal time separate should make you more productive at work and less stressed when you aren’t working.
6. Use the correct software and tools
We are fortunate that we live in an innovative world where the likes of Microsoft Teams and Skype have made it easier than ever to keep in contact with work colleagues, whether that's instant messaging, video calls or conference calls. Choose the correct tool that works for you and your team to make sure you stay in touch with what’s going on.
7. Stay connected
Make sure you’re still picking up the phone or getting on skype and teams and having conversations where you can. There are number of benefits of having conversations out of email, firstly you get to bounce off one another and keep those creative juices flowing, secondly it’s important to stay social when you’re removed from those people at work, don’t be afraid to just have a general quick chat.
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