So, here we are….week four of lock down. Even longer for some.
No picnic working from home is it? It sounded like a luxury when this first began but now the reality of trying to work, trying to keep the kids occupied, getting your daily exercise, sitting on seats which weren’t made for 8 hours of sitting on, trying to stay away from the fridge, counting down the minutes until wine o’clock…the list goes on…is setting in.
Having been at this for a few months now, here are my top tips for working from home…
1. Set a routine
As tempting as it can be to have a lie in, don’t!
Get up at your normal time, get showered, get dressed. Do exactly what you would normally do before travelling to work. This way, you feel ready for the day ahead.
Lying in bed, then staying in your PJs doesn’t put you in the right frame of mind for work and you just won’t be productive.
Stick to your hours of work too, if you can. If you normally work 9am – 5pm, do this at home.
Clear everything away at the end of the day so you have a clear line between ‘work’ and ‘home’. It will be much easier for you to relax in the evening if you’ve cleared away your work things. If you leave them out, you’ll be tempted to carry on working and it is really important to switch off at the end of the day.
If you’re used to working in a team, stay connected with them. Using software like Microsoft Teams or Zoom allows you to video call, have group chats, direct message and call your colleagues. Keep it open on your computer all day so you can keep chatting to each other.
Organise a ‘works do’ every other Friday night. Get some music on, pour yourself a drink and have a good chat with your work mates! It’ll make you feel connected to the ‘normal’ world and, at times like this, feeling connected is essential for your mental well being.
3. Create a Workspace
As comfy as the sofa or your bed is, it’s no place to work. If you don’t already have a home office or desk, use your dining table. Sitting up at a desk helps you maintain good posture, puts you in the right mindset to work and helps you leave your work behind at the end of the day.
4. Stay active
Working from home means fewer steps throughout the day.
Make the most of your daily exercise and go for a good walk, run or bike ride.
If you do this in the middle of the day it’ll break up your work day, gives your eyes a rest from the screen and getting fresh air will give you a boost to get through the afternoon.
5. Write a To Do list
At the end of the day, write down everything you need to do the following day. If you can allocate time frames for each task, even better!
Doing this at the end of the working day means you won’t be thinking about tomorrow’s work all night.
When you get back to your work station the next morning, you’ll be prepared for the day ahead and, ticking off everything on your list will give you a great feeling of achievement!
When you’re at home, it is so tempting to put a wash on or have a quick tidy up and, although taking a short break can be a good thing, allowing yourself to become distracted can really have a negative affect on your productivity. If you wouldn’t do it normally, don’t do it now.
If you have kids at home, distractions are going to happen! As much as school may set them work for the day, or you might have prepared plenty of activities for them to be getting on with, they’re going to need your help, or have questions and that is just something you’re going to have to deal with.
Prepare a timetable for them with a variety of activities (school work, creative time, play time, reading time, exercise time, etc) and, if they’re old enough, ask them to stick to it as best they can.
If this won’t work for you, you may need to adjust your working schedule. Try getting up a little earlier to get in a couple of hours before the kids wake up and work in the evening to give you time with them throughout the day.
So, there you have it. My top tips for working from home. If you have any tips of your own, please share them. We all need as much help as possible at the moment.
Thanks for reading, Michelle.